March 22, 2011
Liz published this at 8:04 am
10-Point Plan in Action
Who’s Not Your Ideal Customer?
I was sitting waiting for a friend in a San Francisco Bistro. The art designer at the next table was bemoaning his business clientele. He said,
20% of my customers are a pleasure to work with. 80% are not, but they pay the bills.
It was all I could do to say, STOP THINKING 20TH CENTURY!!
80-20 Rule of Customers: Quit Thinking 20th Century! Attract Only the Top 20%
In the 20th Century, when we were stuck in geographic niches, we were been limited by location and broadcast advertising. We might have had to serve more people who weren’t our ideal clients and customers. Word of mouth referrals could only reach so many more like the ones we loved already.
The Internet and social business through social media together have blown that 20th century notion apart.
Whether we’re a one-person shop or a huge corporation, we can identify our ideal customers — those 20%-ers that make our work faster, easier, and more meaningful. We can get to know them and let them get to know us. We can develop trust and relationship, discuss solutions and suggest creations, so that by the time they find our front door, they’re already in our community of fans.
Here’s how to do attract those 20%-ers …
- Build an offer that only can deliver. Design it to the detail to suit the customer group you know best. Set your highest standards for the outcomes it guarantees. Know every detail of its execution and performance. When you can believe in your head, heart, hands, and soul that you and every member of your team can consistently deliver on it. You’re ready to talk to the people you want to attract.
- Have standards for customer relationships. Whether your customers buy pencils or designs for major stadiums, know what behaviors you believe in as eithical and trustworthy. Offer those behaviors to your customers and expect those behaviors in return. If a customer disrepects your product or the people who make or sell it — no matter what that product or service is — send the customer packing. No money is worth your ethics or the self-respect of your business.
Take a minute to remember your best customers – those 20%-ers. The qualities they have in common probably add up to something like these: They
- Understood your product or service and its value.
- Were willing to pay a fair price for great work.
- Saw your unique contribution.
- Trusted your expertise.
- Communicated their problems with concern for their needs and yours.
- Were happy to talk their friends about you and your work.
- Working with them made you better at what you do.
So look when you want to identify new 20%-ers that you want to work with, look for people who
- See how your product or service can improve what they do.
- Agree on the value of the work and the relationship.
- Know their own unique expertise and recognize yours.
- Communicate well and honestly.
- Share your values and are open with their friends. Enjoy great working relationships.
Holding your standards on customer relationships will attract customers who have the same standards as you.
Example these words mean something different from someone we love than from someone we just met …
Come to my room. I guarantee you an unforgettable night of sex.
Speak with and show respect for work and the people with whom you work. Handle your products like valuable investments. Describe your services with calm and passionate reverence.
Great businesses don’t qualify our customers based only on interest and cash to buy. Though crucial, as our only gating factors, those two alone will lead us to serving folks who don’t value what we do.
80%-ers don’t build our businesses. They take more time, They question every price and every action because they don’t trust. If they’re loyal, they’re loyal to price or because we’re the ones who tolerate their indecision, misbehavior, lack of communication, without charging for time lost
The 20%-er Attraction Standard
When we hold ourselves to our best standards and performance, people notice.
When we treat people with trust and respect, trustworthy and respectable people come to us.
When we invite the right people to try our best offer, we make it easy to choose our products and services. We also make it easy to share our best offer with friends. 20%=ers think of us when they’re asked “Who do you know that can …? ”
And soon those 20%-ers we invite bring their 20%-er friends who want to enjoy that same standard of products, service, value, and respect.
Because 20%-ers know, as we do, that alignment like that is easier, faster, and more meaningful. And we all know that working with lower standards attracts lesser customers, wastes time, costs more, and leaves us feeling like less. Find the fit that matches your 20%-er values.
Have you set your standards high enough to attract only that best 20%?
–ME “Liz” Strauss
Work with Liz on your business!!
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