Do Your Customers Make the Grade?

in Client

I attended a seminar recently with a very good speaker.  I already knew a lot of what he said - hey, I even teach most of it! - but it's always a good idea to get a different perspective and revisit areas of my own business that need looking at.

One of the topics he touched on was 'grading' your customers, a very useful way to ensure you work smarter for less effort.  Here's how it might work:

Grade A - is an absolute joy to work with, refers lots of business to you and always pays on time.  You're very happy to spend time with them over a coffee, lunch or dinner.

Grade B - is pleasant enough, doesn't give any cause for concern, and you have a good working relationship.  You might meet up for the occasional coffee.

Grade C - is a bit demanding, keeps changing appointments or orders and finds reasons to quibble over invoices.  You don't see them much outside their office.

Grade D - is quite frankly a nightmare! Nothing is ever right for them and they go AWOL every time payment is due.  Your heart sinks when they phone you.

I suggest you make a list of your own clients and grade each one according to the above criteria, and feel free to add to them!

Now, you may have been working very hard to accommodate your Grade C & D clients because of their extra demands.  But the time & effort you're spending on them means that your 'better' grade of client isn't getting so much attention - yet they're the ones you want to keep!  So, there's a sort of twisted logic at work. 

I'm going to suggest something a bit radical here.  How would it be if you 'fired' your Grade D clients?  Let's face it, you don't like working with them and they probably cost more effort than their orders are worth.

Just think, with the time you save trying to meet their demands, you can be enjoying the work with your Grade A & B clients and looking for more like them! 

Even in these challenging times, you don't have to work with clients you don't like, only with those that make the grade!

© Louise Barnes-Johnston, 2008

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Louise Barnes-Johnston has 1 articles online

Louise Barnes-Johnston is a Business Accelerator, popular speaker, trainer and qualified Coach with over 10 years experience in small business marketing offline and online. She shows entrepreneurs, sole-traders and owners of established businesses exactly how to move up to the next level and achieve what really matters to them.

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Do Your Customers Make the Grade?

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This article was published on 2010/03/27