When we build a marketing strategy for clients, one of the first exercises we do is:
What Do You Do & Who Do You Serve?
It’s important to be really clear about those two aspects of your business.
Many small businesses struggle with this first step, especially if they are trying to create a new product or deliver a service in a new way.
But if you’re wildly changing the answers to those two questions, your marketing won’t be effective. And you’ll have trouble attracting clients.
If you haven’t done so recently, take a step back. Are you clear — really clear — on what you do and who you serve?
Answering those questions also means making decisions about what you don’t do and who you don’t serve. That can actually be the harder part.
We encourage all clients to add one particular group of people to who they don’t serve:
Now, of course we have to deal with people we may not like. Or who may be off-putting. Or not all sunshine all the time.
I’m not talking about those people.
I’m talking about the people who clearly undervalue what you provide. Or make endless demands. Or who call you names.
Honestly, every industry has a different definition of the behaviors that make someone a truly unpleasant client or customer.
So consider the benefits of adding this group to your Who We Do Not Serve list.
Your employees are more likely to stick around. Usually, it’s your team members who bear the brunt of bad behavior. They feel like they have to in order to keep their job.
If you make it clear that you value them and want them to have a positive work environment, they will be more likely to stick around.
And in the long run, the value of your team member is usually way more than the value of a single customer.
You’re less likely to burn out. Dealing with unpleasant people takes a toll.
If you make a decision to move one, you’ll find you have more energy to pour into the other customers — and finding new customers who value what you provide.
Sometimes setting a boundary turns the customer’s behavior around. If you simply call out the bad behavior and call it unacceptable, sometimes people change.
- Calling at midnight and expecting an answer is unreasonable.
- We can’t dust under your fridge… unless you want to pay extra for us to move it out of the way to reach back there.
- I don’t appreciate you calling me that.
Occasionally, people just need a little reminder that their behavior has an impact on the receiving end.
We can make the world a little bit better. If more people refuse to tolerate bad behavior in the name of chasing dollars, then bad actors will realize they’re not very nice. The end result?
More people putting more effort into remembering we’re all human beings trying our best.