Earlier this week we talked about how entrepreneurs can be more successful if they invest more time in getting better clients when they are growing quickly. If selected correctly, your best clients help you grow their business and yours.
Bad clients can kill a great business!
There are several qualities your best clients should possess if you hope to build a thriving, growing, profitable organization. Your best clients are the foundation for short and long term business success.
There is a direct correlation between your best clients and how quickly your business grows. Twenty percent of your client base creates eighty percent of the credibility you have with your future clients. In my career building successful organizations, one or two clients have helped me win additional business. Over the past 30 years, I’ve discovered my five best clients and partners can open doors anywhere in the world for me.
As a side note, when I evaluate a business’s value and future potential I invest significant time to understand who is in their current customer portfolio. But that’s a different discussion than what we are focused on today.
Your best clients decrease your sales time and increase the possibilities of future sales to their organization as you continue to grow their business. Your increasing ability to develop your best clients helps you successfully launch new products and services in many of your target markets. Your best clients should be as committed to you as you are to them.
The first quality of your best clients is they already deal with organizations similar to your own. Most early stage organizations invest significant time trying to sell new products and services to clients who do not believe in what they are selling. When working with my best clients, I find that most are great at selling clients on ideas they are already buying from someone else.
If you have to sell a client on what you do as well as who you are, you will struggle to grow faster. Selling speed is critical to early stage business success. Its simple math; one sale typically take less time than having to sell them three times before they buy your product or service.
The second quality of your best clients is they have a strong leadership team. The stronger the leadership team, the easier it is for you to identify the best opportunities to build a long term relationship with them. Strong leadership occurs both inside and outside the organization when problems happen. Many of my best clients came because I could solve a problem for a key leader who was frustrated by their current vendor who would not help them solve the problem.
When you consider why many of your deals stall, it is typically because the client is unable or unwilling to share their vision with your team. Fearful leaders are unwilling to take risks and seize new opportunities when they become available.
As a sales leader, I’m always evaluating the people my team members are working with to get the deal done. If they are not committed to success for their organization they will struggle to help you achieve their goals.
The third quality of your best clients is they have a strong reputation. Reputation means more than just a great brand. I think you’ll find that having the right people in your clients’ business helps you be more successful in developing new customers. All my clients are highly trusted as leaders in their markets.
There are many other consultants who work with my best clients. My clients are always looking for new ways to grow together with my team, this allows me significant flexibility when introducing potential clients to each other.
The final quality of your best clients is they are big enough to grow with you. My favorite idea to share with clients is most small businesses are limited by the vision of their founder. When I work with smaller clients I evaluate who they want to be like as they grow.
Your best clients want longer term relationships with the people they work and buy from. Many of my best long term clients started relationships with me many years ago. We’ve grown up together.
You may have noticed that your best clients are people who are very similar to you and your organization. So what qualities do you look for in the leaders you work with? Next Tuesday, we talk about finding the right people to work with as you grow your business. See you next week.