How many times have you thought “I need more customers!”?
If you find that you often feel that you need more customers, then consider this . . .
85% of new businesses fail within the first five years of operation, and, of those that survive, another 85% will fail within the next five years? The major contributing factor for these failures is that these businesses have focused their resources on finding or “targeting” customers to serve.
There is a common belief held by most business owners that all of their business problems would be solved if they could just figure out the secret to “finding and getting more customers.”
And, that is their biggest mistake!
The never-ending search for more customers requires an abundance of people, time, and money . . . resources which are usually in short supply in most businesses. In such an environment, the effort put forth to “find” customers is actually depleting the business of its energy, creativity, and enthusiasm . . . commodities required to serve these customers in a satisfying way. And, since dissatisfied customers do not return, the business must keep finding more customers to replace those they have lost.
So, with each repetition of the cycle, the business has less and less ability to provide the level of service that would satisfy the types of customers it originally intended to serve. So, the number of complaints the business receives continues to increase . . . and eventually, the complaints outweigh the compliments. The word spreads throughout the community. It becomes harder to find customers to serve. Debts then exceed profits. The business fails.
Conversely, those 15% that succeed have structured their business in a way that “attracts” only perfect customers and clients.
I invite you now to replace the thought “I need more customers” with the conviction that “I now attract only perfect customers.”
What’s the difference?
It’s the difference between a successful business and one that struggles to survive. It’s the difference between a profitable business and one that pinches pennies. It’s the difference between a thriving business and one that is hanging on by a thread.
The Lighthouse Test
How can we tell if our business is structured to “attract” customers to serve?
There is a simple test. We call it the Lighthouse Test.
Imagine a lighthouse standing strong and erect on the rocky shores of a beautiful ocean. On this particular day, the water is calm, the sky is blue, and there are many boats out to sea. Yet, out in the distance, there is a storm cloud forming on the horizon. It is coming closer to shore very quickly. The sky is getting darker, the waves are getting rougher, and many of the boats are being tossed about on the water. As the rains and the winds pick up strength, so does the power of the beam of light emanating from the lighthouse. Some of the boats, anxious to move quickly to a quiet and protective harbor, are relying on this beam of light to guide them safely to the spot. The darker the skies become, the brighter the light shines.
Please also notice that not all of the boats are in need of this beam of light to guide them to safety. Some have more confident captains and crew, while other boats have equipment that can handle the storm effectively.
Now, imagine that the lighthouse gets upset because some of the boats are choosing not to come to its harbor. Because it wants to protect and serve all of the boats in the sea, it sprouts arms and legs and begins running up and down the beach, waving its arms, doing its best to catch the attention of all the boats. What would be the result?
Most likely, the boats that were depending on the light to guide them would by now have been destroyed in the chaos and confusion caused by the light moving up and down the beach Other boats, led by their curiosity, may come closer to shore to get a better look at the spectacle of a lighthouse running up and down the shore, and then head back out to deeper waters. While others would be perfectly content to stay where they are . . . out at sea. The end result, very few boats are served safely and securely.
The test lies in asking ourselves when, as business owners and managers, how often are we the lighthouse standing securely on the shore attracting the boats (customers) to us with our light and how often are we running up and down the beach looking for boats (customers) to serve?
WHEN WE ARE LOOKING FOR CUSTOMERS TO SERVE, WE FIND “CUSTOMERS FROM HELL”
When we are looking for people to serve, we must expend a lot of energy. First, we have to figure out where we are most likely to find the greatest number of customers. And, then we must spend more time and money experimenting with the right way to catch their attention. And, once we’ve caught their attention, we then must convince them that we have what they want. By the time we have actually found someone who is willing to try what we have to give them, we are exhausted!
So, when this customer tells us that they are not completely satisfied with our products, our policies, or our pricing, we are more than willing to make compromises to satisfy them . . . truth be known, we are simply too tired to put up a fight. Thinking that we have won the war, we feel we can afford to let them win these smaller conflicts . . . especially in light of what it would cost us to go out and hunt down another customer to replace this one.
Yet, if we had more strength and solvency, we might be more willing to listen to the tiny inner voice that says, “Be careful . . . this one could be more trouble than their worth. This is a customer from hell.”
Yet, we ignore the voice because we need to make back the money we spent on our marketing and sales program. Or, we convince ourselves that these customers must be perfect for us because they responded to our advertising or clicked on our hyperlink, or we are afraid that the competition will serve them if we don’t. Inevitably, though, the voice turns out to be right. By the time we end our tortured relationship with this customer, we feel that no amount of money in the world would have been enough to compensate us for the cost of the experience. We blame the customer for the poor quality of the interaction, but the truth is that, as business owners and managers, we are solely responsible for who we chose to serve.
And, when we create advertising campaigns or promotional strategies that fail to clearly convey the bright light of our unique business distinctions, we find customers that other businesses should be serving.
As soon as we hear that tiny inner voice warning us that we have found a “less-than-perfect” customer, it’s a signal that our own distinctive light has gone out. It no longer has the power and brilliance to attract only perfect customers and clients.
Take a moment to picture one of your most perfect clients — the one person with whom you most enjoy working. If you’re like the majority of business people, the client you describe as perfect is the one who respects and values your time, trusts you to have his or her best interests at heart, comes to you with realistic expectations, happily pays what your product or service is worth, is intelligent, trustworthy, and sincere, and refers your business to their friends and family. Perfect customers make you feel needed, appreciated, respected, and understood. Even more, they reconnect you with the passion and purpose that puts joy in your work–the very reason you got into your business in the first place. And, when you think about it, these perfect clients often come to you easily; there was an immediate spark of attraction and connection with this client as if synchronicity brought you together at the perfect time and place.
So . . . are all of your clients or customers perfect? If your answer is “no,” then consider a new marketing model . . . one that transforms your approach, attitudes and behavior to create the synchronicity that easily attracts perfect clients and customers to your business.
The Strategic Synchronicity process works for every business, just as successfully as it has for Dan Krohn, attorney:
“After working with the Strategic Synchronicity process to identify my perfect client, I became convinced that there are indeed more than enough such perfect clients to keep me busy. The work started to flow in, and it’s been coming in at an increasing rate ever since. What’s more, I have the extraordinary pleasure of working almost exclusively with clients whom I like — a luxury few attorneys ever experience!”
About the Authors: Jan Brogniez and Stacey Hall are the cofounders of PerfectCustomers Unlimited, an experiential consulting and training company that is the catalyst for a new sales and marketing reality.