Deadweight vs. Ideal Customers

When it comes to generating revenue for your business, nothing is more important than consistently attracting long-term clientele with the help of your SEO-designed website. These essential customers become the lifeblood of your operation. It is possible, however, to attract a selection of clients who end up sucking more resources out of your enterprise than is worthwhile. Your time is valuable, and these “vampire” patrons eat up more hours than you can afford. How can you determine who these people are? Ask yourself a few simple questions:

–  Is it easy to work with this customer?
– Do they pay you on a regular basis, without repeated reminders?
– Are their fees higher than you’d prefer?
– Is their business recurring on a regular enough basis?
– Are they contacting you on a frequent basis to “micromanage” your performance?

If you can say yes to some or all of the above, it may be time to prune your customer base and graft in more profitable – and agreeable – customers.

The concept known as the 80-20 Rule touches on this very subject. The theory behind this idea is that roughly 80% of your time, sweat, and tears comes from 20% of your business. Is it really worth the majority of your efforts and energy to pander to these picky clients? In most cases, that answer is a resounding, “NO!” Monthly marketing efforts should help you select ideal clients, not high-need time-wasters.

For example, renowned author and motivational speaker Tim Ferriss once discussed how this rule applied to his first business venture. One particular client of his was far more demanding than the rest. They called him and emailed him nonstop, they asked for specifications and details beyond what most would consider reasonable, and overall seemed to be upset about some aspect  of each and every order. Though this client was a monthly subscribing customer, Tim became increasingly frustrated with each passing hour he spent dealing with their constant criticism. In the end, he dropped them – and gained back the much needed time (and sanity) to subsequently double his business.

Your time is your most valuable asset in your growing enterprise. Don’t squander it by wasting hours, days, weeks, and even months on projects that, for other clients, would take far less stress and worry. Once these customers are dropped, this monopolizing chunk of your day can now be replaced with more ideal clients, filling your pockets with much needed revenue.

What is the ideal client? In order to determine this important factor, reflect on past jobs that seemed effortlessly pleasurable. What characteristics did these clients have that brought about a win-win situation? Generally, valuable clients are low-maintenance, have reasonable deadlines, don’t nitpick over every single decision, and treat you with respect and kindness. Additionally, these clients should bring you a higher-than-average revenue for hours worked – in other words, they pay well.

One of the best aspects about gaining a client base you enjoy working with are the potential leads they can generate for you. It’s rare that ideal customers will then refer customers you hate; it is usually the exact opposite. Ideal clients are excited about your services, enjoy your product, and then refer you to their cohorts so you can in turn gain more business. Never underestimate the power of a positive referral!

Don’t let the fear of losing a small amount of cash flow interfere with your overall well-being. Your growing company cannot withstand the loss of morale that occurs when you continue to serve patrons who just don’t deliver. By dropping the unnecessary, soul-sucking clients of yesterday and adopting the high-revenue, easygoing customers of tomorrow, your business will grow substantially.