No matter how much value you represent, and no matter how well you communicate it, you will find that some prospects/clients, just can’t afford you. In this economy, expect that number to grow within your current client base. So what do you do?
Move on! But remember, every past client, every prospect, and those struggling to pay their bills right now, represent spokespeople for your company; expect them to pass on their experiences working with you. So a couple of points are key here:
1. First, don’t be afraid to lose customers. If it’s the economy, no problem, there are more customers out there. On the other hand, if you have a service problem, fix it. Over time, customers come and go, and hopefully your value grows (along with fees); while their business may be shrinking.
2. If they can’t afford you, you can’t afford them. Don’t compromise to win a client that will continually struggle to make payment. In the end, you lose, even if its just from the stress of waiting on payments.
3. Be prepared to refer them to a less expensive solution. You want everyone you talk to, to perceive you as helpful, and wish they could do business with you. One day they may be in a position to hire you, right now they are in a position to recommend you. So keep a list of quality partners that target lower end markets.
4. Finally, don’t let your clients get behind in payments. Extending credit may seem like you are doing them a favor, but you’re not. Debt creates bondage… it adds stress to the relationship.
With this in mind, plan your solution strategy for 2011 based on the market you intend to serve. Put brackets around the low and high end of your target, and serve them well. Refer business to partners that falls outside of your parameters, and charge for the value you deliver in your circle. This is good business.
© 2010, David Stelzl