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Thread: Do business with customers you like

  1. #1
    Full Member Ann Williams's Avatar
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    Talking Do business with customers you like

    I wrote the following snippet for my blog and thought it could be used here as well...


    "We only do business with customers we like," is an adage that I have come across before and which I use - because it works. Now, before I go into why I adhere to this principal, I want to clarify by what I mean by 'liking' a customer....
    There is a difference for me between people who are just really 'nice' and between customers I 'like' (although I have found that great customers are often 'lekker' people as well).


    The kind of customer I like is:
    1. One who wants to do business (possibly with my company), rather than just chancing their luck to see what they can get for free (or at a super-duper discount).


    2. One who respects the relationship that may be formed. (I have come across some American 'negotiators' whose tactics are to come in blazing in the hope of knocking down pricing etc. Eg. Purposefully starting meetings late when there are two dozen people from the supplier waiting for them; pretending to 'scratch around' for the documentation that has been sent, and then 'just read through it quickly' when by what they say in the talks you know they have been studying it intensely before; and by using derogatory and pushy language to get your backs up.) No matter how much money deals like this may bring in for you, just don't do it! You will spend all of your profit from the job in continuous haggling and court cases - it is not actually worth it in either monetary or emotional terms. And you can tell them right up front that unless there is an attitude adjustment you are not interested in their business. (Then you'll probably see some changes!)


    3. Only do work that you like. I kid you not! I'm not talking about how tedious or difficult the work may be. I'm talking about whether you feel comfortable in your mind and soul about doing the work. Let's say that I know that a shoe manufacturer uses child labour in its factories, I am not going to do their advertising campaign or assist them with their marketing.


    4. They pay you! Ah. Amen. You work hard for them, you expect to be paid - and within the framework that you agreed on beforehand. (Or if they are really having a hard time, for whatever reason, it is up to them to contact you and make some kind of alternative arrangement for your payment.) There seems to be an increasing number of companies which close down - some even purposefully - leaving huge debts while the owners are still living very comfortable lifestyles!


    5. You like their business. The previous four points are pretty much necessities in my business book... This point however is about making the world a better place. People make the world go around by being productive. (There would be nothing to eat if someone didn't go out hunting or till the fields!) Ethically run businesses have a positive vibe about them that can make it a pleasure for anyone dealing with them. You feel that you want to help them make their business grow, that you and your business are all part of a chain of people doing something positive. (Yeh, 'squishy' stuff I know.) But it's really great doing business with a company with have 'heart'.

  2. #2
    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Oh yeah! This is all so true.

    The "clients" that get my back up are the ones that come to you with a first deal and want you to run it at a loss, or even for free - because there's "lots more business coming." My attitude, let's talk about "special pricing" on deal ten!

    This bit surprised me though...
    Quote Originally Posted by Ann Williams View Post
    I have come across some American 'negotiators' whose tactics are to come in blazing in the hope of knocking down pricing etc. Eg. Purposefully starting meetings late when there are two dozen people from the supplier waiting for them; pretending to 'scratch around' for the documentation that has been sent, and then 'just read through it quickly' when by what they say in the talks you know they have been studying it intensely before; and by using derogatory and pushy language to get your backs up.)
    My experience has been the exact opposite. Courteous, professional, well organised. You must have come across some real chancers. What were they trying to sell?
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

  3. #3
    Full Member Ann Williams's Avatar
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    Red face Negotiators from hell

    Hi Dave

    Thankfully it wasn't me who had to put up with the negotiators from hell, it was my husband who works for a large company. The examples given in the instance I wrote about, actually happened to them last week. This is not the first time he has seen this happen and apparently this is not that uncommon in the industry he works in... Particularly as the projects are large sums of money (in the Rbillions), the suppliers feel no 'skaam' about throwing their weight around! (Glad I don't have to deal with it.)

    Cheers
    A
    Last edited by Ann Williams; 10-Jun-07 at 02:53 PM.

  4. #4
    Full Member Ann Williams's Avatar
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    Unhappy I get more chancers...

    What I have come across as a small business though is quite a few people who seem surprised when I tell them that they can happily come around for a short consultation / coaching session (at very reasonable rates) - rather than my sorting out their entire marketing programme over the telephone for free!

    I have also had one or two people that think that paying a bill (prenegotiated rates) for written work I have done is something they shouldn't have to do. After all, 'it's only writing'. (It's amazing how people will pay quite happily for a doctor or lawyer, but other professional services which may take years of education, training and experience...!)

    The only thing I can say here is: invoice immediately and get the cheque before they walk out the door for first-time customers.

    Cheers
    A

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    I agree with you totally with this ann!

    Your statements ring so true in my ears its not even funny.

    We end up having to chase clients for our money at the end of the month and then when we get debt collectors involved and they get upset they wonder why we were so rash.

    I heard this one also... maybe lets add it to your collection.

    "We spend 90% of our time with bad clients and only 10% of our time with the good clients"

    "Rather spend your 90% time on the good clients and 10% on those those that are not so good."

    drop the ones that force your hand.. less stress = more freedom = more ideas = higher profits
    Wellinformed.co.za - Networking Forums SA partner site. Let's support each other for a better South Africa.

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    Platinum Member SilverNodashi's Avatar
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    I have seen this many a time as well. Clients in SA expect you to drive out to their places, often after 6 when they get home (hey, I also have a wife and a life), and give hours of free consulting, only to turn around and say I'm too expensive, or this, or that.

    So, I have started to quote beforehand, and often get clients complaining about it, and often use excuses like "but Joe Soap will do it for free", then I say "fine, then make use of his services, and good luck with the new business "

    And I've come to a point where I realize that it's not worth my time, money or effort to try and offer these clients killer deals. Once they see your eagerness, they will alway bargain for more!

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