You’re probably sick of reading all-things-COVID-19. I get it. It’s been months of non-stop news updates and social media shares. But, it’s still affecting business. It’s affecting clients, income, profits, and let’s be honest, our steam is running low from the constant pain-in-the-ass that is the coronavirus. For many, many businesses, they’re hurting right now. Business owners across the globe are struggling.
The US Chamber of Commerce has reported that 1 in every 5 businesses had to close temporarily (19%) or permanently (1%). More than 80% of smaller businesses are making plans to change in response to this pandemic – and you should too.
But this isn’t the time to let our standards start to slip out from underneath us. You’re still a strong and capable entrepreneur. You’ll do anything to keep clients happy and your business afloat, right?
But (and it’s a big but)…
Even during COVID-19, a global crisis, you should still be filtering out your clients and only working with the best of the best. Yes, you might have lost a few clients, but that doesn’t mean we should all be scraping the bottom of the barrel looking to replace them with the first guy we can find with a checkbook.
Now is not the time to just take whatever we can get!
The clients we onboard now are the clients we’ll be working with for years to come. You have standards – and now is not the time to accept someone as a client just because they can pay an invoice.
Things may be tough right now – but the decisions we make today will heavily affect our companies’ success going forward. Who you choose to work with impacts your staff morale, your cash flow, and how you reach your business goals.
I’ve already shared my own experiences working with a client that was completely the wrong fit.
So, how do you filter out these bad-fit clients?
The Red Velvet Rope Policy
Imagine your business is an exclusive, luxury hotel with beautiful decor, amazing facilities, and top-class staff. The best of the best. When a client walks in, they know they’ve made it in life. Everything is carefully crafted to create an unforgettable guest experience.
Now, imagine that all the guest suites share walls. Every client is happily tucked into their luxurious, comfortable rooms, enjoying first-class room service that attends to their every need. They all coexist peacefully. They greet each other in the hallway on the way to the pool or to breakfast. They hold the elevator door open for you and speak to you with lovely, kind words.
Sure, they might have an odd bad day here or there, but who doesn’t!
Overall they’re all great to be around. They’re nice to your staff, and they're respectful of your hotel. Everything is perfect.
That is until a new guest arrives.
You just wanted to fill all your rooms, make sure your numbers added up. But you didn’t realize how obnoxious this new guest would be.
They disrupt the whole flow of your hotel. They wreck the place. They demand things from your staff at all hours. They complain about their luxury room (despite it being tailored exactly to their needs).
You become so worried about trying to keep this new menace of a guest happy and quiet that you start to forget your other guests. You know, the nice, polite ones that are a joy to serve.
How do you get rid of this unwanted disruptive guest? Or better yet, how do you stop them from making a reservation in the first place?
You install the Red Velvet Rope Policy.
This policy will welcome the ideal guest in and filter out the not-so-ideal guests in the process.
The Red Velvet Rope Policy is a list of behaviors that you won’t tolerate in your business – and a list of qualities that you want your clients to have.
Your Red Velvet Rope Policy is your own. It should be designed to find clients that match your brand’s personality and fit in with your company’s manifesto – but there are a few general things most companies consider big red flags in a hotel guest/client.
Would you tolerate this behavior from hotel guests?
- Being rude, loud, and disturbing other guests?
- Their kids yelling and running in the hallways after 10 pm?
- Constantly calling the front desk complaining?
- Demanding services for free?
- Disrespecting your staff?
- Ordering room service and trying to negotiate the cost of the hamburger?
- Reserving the room for 2 and sneaking in 6 more people?
- Refusing to pay for services or skipping out on their bill completely?
Does any of this sound like clients you currently have? Does any of that sound like things you’d love to be dealing with during a pandemic?
Whether you're dealing with disruptive hotel guests or an unruly client in your business, it's time to evict them if they behave like this.
To avoid the hassle of having to fire a client – look for those early red flags and don’t take them on in the first place. Taking this approach to accepting new clients is incredibly important right now.
Keep your clients protected. Stop your staff from being treated poorly. They need to feel taken care of. Don’t ignore them to put energy into dealing with obnoxious and annoying clients.
You do not have to deal with the demands of a tyrant, no matter what happens due to COVID!
It’s your business, so you get to decide what clients are a good fit for you.
We are not here to serve everybody.
Trust your gut!
If it tells you to say goodbye to disruptive, demanding clients forever, then you wave goodbye and give them the boot out the door! (Or politely ask them to leave, you know whatever your preferred style is.)
You have a lot of ideal clients out there, waiting for you to reach out and do awesome, amazing work with them. Don’t look back at the clients you’ve declined or fired. Walk forward and reach new clients who enjoy what you do – COVID or no COVID.
Give a damn about your business, your employees, and your clients by giving them that luxurious penthouse suite 5-star hotel experience.
It's important to balance out the need for business while not taking on bad-fit clients. Knowing your boundaries of what you will and won't tolerate is important to any business’s growth.
Even with COVID going on, it’s important to filter clients because when this is all over, you'll have to deal with that bad fit client, and nobody wants that.
Here at Branding and Beyond, we can help companies figure out what matters to their brand and attract more of the good-fit clients through the door. Get in touch today.
Tracy O’Shaughnessy Founder / Lead Brand Strategist of Branding & Beyond
Tracy and her team help B2B firms in the construction industry and professional services look and sound credible online and off.
She has been in the industry since the early '90s and is tired of great companies being treated as commodities and competing on price because they don't look and sound as credible as they really are.
You can find Tracy on Linkedin and here on this blog.