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How to Build a Strong Client List

Posted on 14 Feb 2020

The Right Customers Are As Key As the Right Employees

A friend recently retired and is now doing land survey work as a side hustle. At first his customers ran him ragged. Then Jeremy adopted a best practices strategy. He stopped saying yes to every job and picked only the very best opportunities. Now he loves “retirement”. I began to think about small business owners in general and more specifically the wonderful customers who use our time clock system for their remote employees. The question bubbled up:

What if all new small businesses began by acquiring only the best clients? 

You scream, “naive! unrealistic!” I get it. Most new business owners hustle and struggle to make ends meet, and any new customer is welcome. But few business owners are this carefree about hiring employees. Utilizing best practices, employees are vetted through the application and interview process to ensure that only the top candidates are hired. Why? I immediately think of two reasons: to ensure quality of work, and to minimize the chance of employee turnover, both of which can prove to be expensive. You want to keep the best employees. Is the same not true for customers? Aren’t bad customers a detriment to your business as much as bad employees? For the sake of definition we’ll call a bad customer as one who:

  • Frequently tries to renegotiate your contract for a lower price.
  • Disrespects you and/or your employees. You’re treated as a vendor, not a partner.
  • Constantly moves the target on the scope of work expected.
  • Doesn’t appreciate your team’s excellent efforts and complains incessantly.
  • Threatens to leave for another service provider.

 

Love Monday Mornings

You can probably add more bullet points, but now imagine a carefully curated customer list with these types weeded out. Consider the anxiety not suffered; the sleep not lost; the time and energy not wasted trying to please customers who can’t be pleased. You could be a better you – a vibrant leader, a more rested, coherent communicator, a more effective salesperson, the type of CEO who inspires confidence and attracts the best employees and customers. And ponder the ripple effect that flows down to your employees who get to perform services for, and interact with, grateful customers. I bet that helps with employee retention. Begin with the end in mind. Adopt a best practices mentality for cultivating an elite client list – cater to the select rather than the masses. Instead of chasing every possible dollar, build the business that you will still love on Monday mornings for many years to come.

Best Practices Build Great Businesses

As you consider best practices to build your remote employee business, don’t neglect the most important one to control your highest expense – labor cost, and that is an online time card management system. In addition to tracking accurate labor hours you can get job cost v. job budget reporting for each customer – a serious must-have in assembling a coveted client list.

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