It has been said that to be successful in business you must operate under the premise “the customer is always right.” The truth is that the customer may be “right” for one business owner, but may not be a “good fit” for you!
When a customer calls you, it’s your job to listen to their needs. Once you have heard what they are looking for, you can decide whether to provide a solution to their needs with your expertise. This is the perfect time for you to evaluate if this customer is the right fit for your company, or should be referred to another source – saving both you and your customer time.
Treat this initial conversation like you would a job interview. Be aware of “red flags” that signal a customer may not be a good fit for what you provide. Here are three of the most common customer characteristics that should set off warnings immediately:
Freeloader. You and your team spend the time gathering detailed information based on what the customer has told you they need and in return, the customer focuses only on the lowest price. The “freeloader” has little respect for the expertise, skills, and value of what you offer – walk away.
Negative Talker. We have all met a customer who enjoys sharing negative stories about every business that they have ever worked with. Negative talk signals a person that may be a difficult customer and impossible to please. Rather than taking a risk of being their next story, graciously side-step the opportunity and wish them the best.
Complex Communicator. Poor communication can cause both parties to become frustrated. When conversations between you and your customer become difficult or awkward, the first thing you need to do is to step back and determine if it’s something that you or your team are doing wrong. If the answer is “no”, it may be soomething as simple as a conflict in personality, and would be best to refer to another source.
Sometimes the thought of turning a customer away seems like self-sabotage, but you must keep in mind that in the long run, a “poor fit” customer can drain your resources and de-value your brand and reputation. Look out for warning signs and know that it’s okay to say “no” to a potential customer.
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