Which Customers Are Worth Your Time?

Tom Richard

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How’s business?

Overflowing with customers?

Thought not.

Then why are you ranking your prospects to determine which ones to go after and pushing away smaller customers you think aren’t worth it? That’s as silly as only playing the lottery when the jackpot is up to $350 million; as if the $50 million jackpot isn’t worth your time.

We’ve all heard stories about the salesperson that prejudged a customer and turned them away, only to have that person turn into one of the biggest customers of all time. You know the story, but why haven’t you learned from it?

You know that each customer has the potential to boost sales and build business, but you still aren’t taking it to heart. You give the small customers insulting prices, horrible terms, and service that would make your mother slap you.

Imagine what would happen if you treated EVERY customer like they were your biggest customer. If you spent the same amount of time preparing a presentation for an average sized sale as you do for a mammoth sale. If you went the extra mile for the average customer, not because you were expecting something big in return, but because you believe that you should honor and serve all of your customers.

Idealistic? Yes!

Profitable? You bet!

Here’s how to make it happen:

History doesn’t always repeat itself.

So, you took a chance on a customer a long time ago and it came back to bite you in the butt; that doesn’t mean that all customers of that type are going to be the same!

Stop thinking about the money you lost from that one customer and start thinking about all the business you have lost AFTER your reaction to that one customer who screwed you. Stop building walls and creating criteria that you think will increase your margins or reduce the amount of service issues you have. Discriminating against certain prospects means narrowing your customers and dropping potential sales. These lost sales are not only hurting your business, they are helping your competitors succeed!

Rejecting customers means losing business.

Every potential customer you come in contact with has the ability to create future business for you. The problem is that you insist on putting a dollar value on what those prospects are worth to you. Is your business really doing so well that all customers aren’t valuable to your organization? And even if you are doing that well, you better brace yourself. You’ll be in a lot of trouble if a new competitor comes along or your industry takes a turn for the worse.

By judging and categorizing your customers, you box yourself into an unforgiving corner. Your competition is in the perfect position to take away your unwanted sales and kick your butt! To be honest, I love to compete with salespeople like you because you lose most of the good sales on your own. I guarantee that the person who measures their customers in terms of nickels and quarters will lose to their competitor every time.

It’s not who you know, it’s who knows you.

More importantly, it’s what they know about you.

People talk. If you think you can get away with treating your customers differently based on how important you think they are, you are only fooling yourself. If a customer is happy with your business, they will recommend you to others. Likewise, if they are less than satisfied with your business, they will warn others.

Treating certain customers with less respect and attention means that you are not only losing their business, but also the business of anyone who may happen to hear their complaint. Think of all the sales you could throw away by treating just one potential customer horribly.

Make friends, make sales.

The only reason you are in business is to serve your customers; ALL of your customers; not just the rich ones or the ones without problems or complaints. Maybe the low margin and low dollar value customers don’t seem like a big help to your commissions, but remember that sales is about making long lasting relationships. Those loyal relationships are what will keep your business growing continuously. Making a friend out of EVERY prospect will create a foundation of relationships that will bring continued sales in the future. Value first, always.

Stop thinking about why you want to sell and start thinking about why your customers want to buy. Let go of silly sales systems and provide real value to ALL of your customers. Using cheap presentation materials for customers you think aren’t worth the money or not preparing for sales calls you think aren’t worth the time will lead to damaged relationships and declining sales.

Understanding the importance of each customer will result in a more personalized approach of selling. Your customers will see the value of your business and you will have the benefits of continuous loyal customers. You reap what you sow.

The customer you think isn’t worth your time now may become invaluable later. Giving them the respect and attention they deserve will result in a loyalty that will bring continued sales and word of mouth advertising. These are priceless and strongly outweigh the time and money you spend in helping these customers. You will also be rewarded when that customer returns to you after their business expands or they take a position at a bigger company.

The dollar value you place on each customer is no where near their true worth, because you have no way of knowing which of your customers will reward you most in the long run.

Taking the time to treat each customer with the time and attention they deserve will bring results that YOU desire: happier customers and more profits! Your customer base will expand and you will find yourself helping satisfied customers who enjoy supporting your business (now and later) and recommending you to others.

Which customers are worth your time?

Every single one.

Tom Richard is the author of a free weekly ezine on selling skills. To subscribe to this weekly ezine, send a blank email to subscribe@tomrichard.com.


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