Knowing When to Marry or Divorce Your Clients
By Michael Cohn
The truth is that not everyone is going to be your client. As a business owner, it is important for you to understand which clients are appropriate for you and your business and which ones are not. You need to have the strength to divorce those who are not right for you.
Standing up to the truth
Undoubtedly, saying “no” to clients before they even become clients or divorcing them after they have become clients (if it works out that way) is never a comfortable, easy thing to do. However, in the long run, it is healthier for you and it is healthier for them. Not every person is right for every other person. Of course, it works the same on the other side. If you are not right for that client (whether that person realizes it in the beginning or it takes them some time to figure that out), they have every right to cut you loose. It isn’t personal. It is just business. As much as that may seem like a silly thing to do from a business perspective, it actually isn’t silly at all. If you have created a solid, effective business strategy and you follow your strategy, there may come a time when a particular client no longer fits in with that strategy. You should think of your business strategy as a roadmap that should be followed so that you can successfully get to where you want to be. Simply put, you will come across other people and other businesses throughout your career who just don’ come into alignment with your vision and your brand. They may have fit in the beginning but they may no longer fit for a variety of reasons. It is very important to understand that you can’t effectively serve everyone because you will end up not serving anyone effectively. Face what you have in front of you and deal with it as effectively and as gracefully as possible.
When it comes to working for your clients, there is no doubt that your objective is to make that client happy in any way that you possibly can (of course, without losing your principles). That is what is expected of you and that is what you understand needs to be done. However, as much as your priority is your client, that doesn’t mean that you need to know your head against a brick wall if it just isn’t working. It is very important that you remember that you can’t spread yourself too thin or there won’t be enough of you to do your job effectively and to your client’s satisfaction. Of course, it is safe to assume that your clients are all very important to you. However, there will be times when your client may be better served by someone who is a better fit for their needs.
The best possible strategy for your business
When it comes to truly satisfying your clients, that means that you work with your clients to help them accomplish the goals that they have established for their businesses and you are there with them every step of the way. If you can help them to accomplish that, you will both become more successful than you were before. Any business that needs clients to survive (in other words, all businesses) must focus on those clients and give them exactly what they want and need to succeed. The more profitable your clients are, the more profitable you will be. With that said, it is also important to remember that your interactions and your efforts with each client will be different because each one of your clients is different. You will have overlapping concepts in your strategy with each one but there will also be a great need for customization. It goes without saying that you must embrace the value and the uniqueness of each client and celebrate that uniqueness at every opportunity.
Striving to improve upon your client strategy on a regular basis
In your client-centric world, it is important to constantly keep in mind that you must offer an improved version of what you offer them each time you interact. Of course, that means that your clients’ expectations will be extremely high; however, that is exactly why they hired you in the first place. You deliver a top-shelf product and/or service.
You are a shrewd business owner and you understand that when it comes to the relationship that you share with your clients, it has to be all about them. You can solve their problems, you can give them what they want and need, and you can help them to bring their business to the next level. It is very important to remember to make it your constant goal to give your clients what they need, not to sell them anything directly. Remember that you must fulfill your clients’ needs and then, in turn, yours will also be fulfilled.
Michael Cohn is the founder and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of CompuKol Communications. He has over 25 years of experience in IT and web technologies. Mr. Cohn spent a significant amount of time at a major telecommunications company, where his main focus was on initiating and leading synergy efforts across all business units by dramatically improving efficiency, online collaboration, and the company’s Intranet capabilities, which accelerated gains in business productivity. He also reduced company travel and travel costs by introducing and implementing various collaboration technologies.
His expertise includes business analysis; project management; management of global cross-matrix teams; systems engineering and analysis, architecture, prototyping and integration; technology evaluation and assessment; systems development; performance evaluation; and management of off-shore development.
Mr. Cohn earned a Master’s degree in project management from George Washington University in Washington, DC; and a Master’s degree in computer science and a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, NJ.
Mr. Cohn is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).
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