5 Reasons to Say No to New Business

Barbara Weltman Small businesses are usually eager to accept money from anyone willing to pay for their products or services. But some of these new customers can lead a company down the wrong financial path. Debbie Bermont, president of Source Communications (www.outrageousbusinessgrowth.com), is a leading expert on helping businesses accelerate their sales for growth. She advises that you listen to logic and your instincts in deciding whether a new customer is a good fit for your business, and she offers these pointers.

#1 Value what you offer
Make sure new customers appreciate your expertise, credibility, service, knowledge, reliability, and guarantee. If price is the customer’s deciding factor, then you are likely to be viewed as a commodity rather than valued as a specialist. This type of customer typically lacks any loyalty to you and may become fickle and switch to a competitor when offered a lower price for a similar product or service.

#2 Have customers make a financial commitment
Don’t give free advice. Have your customers make a commitment to you before you hand over your product or service. This can be done by making a purchase, paying you upfront for work to be performed or signing a contract for payment when the job is done. Prospects who expect you to provide things to them for free will probably turn out to be customers who always expect freebies, wasting your time without paying you for your efforts.

#3 Expect courtesy
Continuing business with a customer is based on building a relationship, something that can only be done when there is mutual respect and your professionalism is valued. Don’t expect to build a strong bond with a customer who is always questioning your judgment.

#4 Stay within your expertise
Don’t routinely try to satisfy customers with products or services beyond those you usually provide. Two bad things can happen if you attempt to meet this need: You may wind up providing inferior goods or services because you lack the knowledge or resources to meet customer requirements. And, even if you do live up to expectations, you may stretch your company resources and put yourself on shaky financial ground.

Customer requests for added products or services may be a sign that it’s time to expand your business. Do your own research to determine whether expansion is feasible; don’t do it simply to satisfy a single customer.

#5 Share values
Try to work only with customers who share your values. One highly successful financial planner, for example, won’t accept a new client who is not “fun” to work with. Make sure new customers fit within your company’s mission.

Copyright © 2005 BWideas.com, Inc.

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