Later this year, I plan to post a series of suggestions related to the best practices for obtaining new customers/clients. As part of the preparation for that series, I recently finished reading The New Strategic Selling, by Miller, Heiman, Tuleja and Marriott. I would recommend this book, especially if your job responsibilities include business development. The authors touch on several of my favorite subjects, which I will comment on in the next several blogs.
What is an ideal customer/client? (Honestly, is that something you’ve ever thought about?) The authors offer the following list of “best customer” characteristics:
- They trust my company’s performance.
- They have innovative, progressive management.
- They’re loyal to the vendors selected.
- They’re committed to quality control.
- They’re willing to pay for “value-added” aspects of my product.
- They demonstrate the highest business ethics and integrity.
- They want a win-win relationship on every sale.
The authors follow that up with a list of “worst customer” characteristics:
- They’re inflexible on price.
- They’re slow in making buying decisions.
- They have no loyalty to my company or to me.
- They have an authoritarian management system.
- They’re secretive and unwilling to cooperate.
- They want me to lose so they can win.
I would highly recommend evaluating your customers/clients with the above criteria, plus anything else that’s important to you. And then take action. With the generally strong economy, now is a great time to separate from your worst customer/client. It’s scary, but you’ll be glad you did it — and so will your team!