In the print industry, it is really easy to get caught up in taking on any and every job that walks through the door. Whether it’s a $1,000 job or $10,000 job, we don’t discriminate who we are servicing as long as they have a job to give. It allows our production equipment to continue running and our staff to have something to produce.
But have you stepped back and asked yourself what that client is doing to your business and operation? Is that $75 business card job worth the six hours your team will put in between account management, prepress, printing, and production really worth it? Sure, it’s a sale. But did you make any money from it? Bring in 20 of these and soon you’re expanding your sales and account management team to service them. The old model of adding account managers / CSR’s as you expand sales is not sustainable.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t provide quality level service to these clients, but you have to understand and be conscious of what they’re doing to your business. Your team’s efforts are getting stretched thin, providing service to a client who doesn’t quite derive the full value of your services, versus one who could. By working with a customer who uses only one of your ten services, you effectively take away time and effort that could be better spent providing more value to the ideal client.
By saying yes to everybody and every job, you aren’t setting your organization up for long-term success. You’re robbing your organization of time and resources that could be better utilized on a client who needs more. Your ideal clients are willing to build and maintain a healthy relationship with your organization. They aren’t just looking for the cheapest price in town or the quickest turn around time possible.
So when is it alright to say no to potential customers? When you’ve defined your ideal yes.
What does that mean? It means everyone in your organization, from your sales staff to your production employees, should be able to tell you what your ideal client looks like. These are clients that you bring value to, whether it’s through the technology you provide them, the type of equipment that fits their workload, geographical region, and so on.
You have to ask yourself and your team, “what does the ideal client look like to us?” Then define who these ideal clients are based off of your current book of business. That’s when you go to them and ask them to tell you how you bring value.
You don’t tell them. They tell you.
Afterwards, compile your feedback and search for a common theme. What are the similarities between each of these clients that you can keep in mind when you’re designing your ideal client? Find out where you’re really making your living with your customers and then develop an awareness and process around this theme. This will give you a framework for marketing and selling to potential clients that fit your services and who you bring the most value.
The more and more you can make this crystal clear to your team, the easier it becomes to say ‘no’ to those who do not fit your bill. You can start to shave off those $75 business card jobs and convert them into a continuous flow of $1,000 jobs from the ideal market because now your sales and marketing teams have more time and effort focused on nurturing those ideal relationships. You’re no longer stretched thin on trying to provide 10% of your company’s value to 100 other clients but instead are putting in 80-100% to 30 clients who are happy to pay top dollar for the attention you’re giving them.
Once you can nail down the types of clients you can provide the most value to and start to focus on acquiring their business, not only will you be building long-term and fruitful relationships that will grow your company, but you will make it easier for you team to consolidate their efforts and dial in on their customer service abilities. It’ll reduce stress and allow them to focus more on improving customer service rather than simply looking for customers to provide service for, especially only 10% of what your business has to offer.
Get your ‘yes’ clients figured out and you will easily start to realize who the ‘no’ clients are. You don’t have to provide service for everybody. Unless you’re caught in a bind and need cash flow in order to stay on your feet, you will find better opportunity in honing in on those who make the most sense for your services and giving them your full attention. This especially pertains to the print industry. If you’re taking on everybody as a client, you’re a manufacturer. To step into the realm of being a service provider, and furthermore continuing the growth of your business, you need to know who you can provide the most service for and go after them.
If you’re ready to get started on figuring out your ‘yes clients,’ my team and I have come up with a worksheet you can use to help get you going. You can have it absolutely free as my thanks for viewing my content. All you have to do is click the button below and download the PDF. Print it out and use it as a tool to help guide you towards defining your ideal clients.
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