Are you confused by the title of this blog post? How can you expand your client base by eliminating prospects? Doesn't it make more sense to increase the number of prospects in your database? After all, it's supposed to be numbers game - the more prospects you have the more clients you should be able to gain.
The problem is, many of the prospects you're thinking about working with are BAD PROSPECTS for your business. Unfortunately we learned this the hard way, so maybe we can spare you from making the same mistake.
Back in the 80's when I was transferred out to Idaho for my retail management job, Steve followed me and went to work in construction. Fortunately, he was laid off from his job. Of course, at the time we didn't think that was such a great thing since we suddenly had to rely on my small salary to support the both of us. But after a few weeks time, the owner of the construction company that had laid Steve off, called him up and asked if he wanted a job cleaning several office buildings that he owned. He was tired of dealing with horrible cleaning companies and wanted someone that could take care of business. In just a few short weeks, we were able to turn Steve's full time cleaning job into our own business.
In order to grow the business, Steve started looking around for additional cleaning accounts. He approached anyone and everyone he could think of. So we ended up cleaning office buildings, hair salons, an auto dealership, a bar, a restaurant, convenience stores, paint stores, and manufacturing buildings. There were a few more, but you get the idea - it was quite a variety.
The problem came when we figured out that some of these accounts were a real pain in the you-know-what. The hair salons didn't have much of a budget for cleaning, so they wanted once a week service and expected miracles when it came to hair removal. Let me tell you, no matter how hard you try, you'll never be able to pick up ALL the hair.
Restaurants and bars became problematic because they were either cleaned very late at night or very early in the morning. So it was hard to find employees that wanted to work those hours. And Steve was already working a lot of late nights, so early morning just didn't work.
So we decided that enough is enough. No more searching for and taking on any type of cleaning prospect that came our way. Instead, we focused our time on seeking out the types of accounts that we loved to do, that fit well into our schedule, and that we could easily staff.
Next, we trimmed the fat. And we did that systematically. As we gained a new "ideal client", we let go one of our clients that no longer fit our ideal client profile. This helped us maintain the income level we needed, while getting rid of the clients that were just not the right fit for us.
So if you're in the mode of taking on any prospect that offers you the chance, I strongly encourage you to start focusing more of your time on seeking out the type of clients that you enjoy doing business with instead of allowing yourself to be sucked into an ill-fitting situation.
Do YOU currently have clients that are not a good fit for your business? Tell us about it by clicking on the comments link below.