August 16, 2017

The Art of Repelling Customers

The Art of Repelling Customers

I am an avid people pleaser. It's not in my nature to want to piss people off, spark controversy, turn people away, or make them not want to work with me.

But, the longer I run a business, the more I realise that I am not going to be able to please every customer, or provide exceptional value to them.

There are a small percentage of customers that make unreasonable demands or don't respect your time or professional opinion. They are the squeaky wheel and they always manage to steal away a disproportionate amount of your attention. And there are others that always want a lower price because they don't really value the work you're doing for them.

While you’re pandering to these non-ideal customers, you’ve eaten into what time and emotional bandwidth you have to spend finding and attracting customers that do value you. It's disheartening and frustrating, but here's the thing— it's not their fault. It's yours.

It’s a bitter pill to swallow, I know, but it’s time to take responsibility for your part in attracting these non-ideal customers. You don’t have to say ‘yes’ to every project. You always have a choice. Many business owners get caught in the trap of waiting on customers to come to them, so when one does, they’re desperate enough to say ‘yes’ to any project, at any cost. 

I can't imagine any business owner Googling this topic. Most want more customers, not fewer. But you don't need more customers. You need more of the right customers. So, it’s time to work on repelling the wrong people, so you can make some more room your ideal customers. Here are 4 steps to help you—

1. Stand for something

Like attracts like. We want to be liked and to be around people that like the same things we do. That's why getting likes on facebook or Instagram gives us warm fuzzies.

When our brands don't take a stand for anything, or lack originality or personality, we make it hard for the right customers to relate to us, find a connection and say 'me too'. On the flip side, we might end up attracting customers who don't share our values and aren't the right fit.

Decide what you stand for, what you do, who you serve and how you do it, to the exclusion of everything else. When you know these things, you can build points of connection with the right customers who also share these attributes or values and turn off those who don’t.

2. Get to know your ideal customer

It took us a while and many missteps, but every project brings us closer to understanding who our best customers are and who we just can't deliver much value to.

A lot of marketing professionals talk about creating persona profiles or avatars, but I find that a lot of these simply list out surface level attributes— things you could find in a LinkedIn profile. Those are a great start, but don't forget to add traits or beliefs too.

All of these little facts will help you to understand what types of content you need to produce, where you should be promoting your offerings and the types of companies who are already serving your ideal customers. These little information nuggets will form the basis of a marketing strategy that is focused on attracting your ideal customers.

3. Set expectations

If there are certain services you don’t offer or can’t help with, don’t be afraid to say it. If you can only help people with a specific budget, tell them upfront. You’re saving everyone's valuable time by being transparent and setting expectations.

4. Let go of what doesn't offer value

If the work you're doing doesn't offer a lot of value to your customers compared to its cost, maybe it's time to re-think that offering or figure out a way you can deliver more value to them.

This not an airtight solution and the non-ideal customers will sometimes leak through, but being aware of the right customers for you will help you to spot them before you sign on the dotted line. The next time you are having a hard time with a customer, instead of feeling helpless and frustrated, start thinking about how you can do a better job at setting expectations and refining your ideal customer profile for the future. Decide what you stand for, what you do, who you serve and how you do it, and stick to it, no matter how hard it is to say ‘no’. 

And, if you need a hand defining your brand— including who you serve, what you believe in and how you're different, don't be a stranger. Follow us on instagram or contact us.

Continue Reading

Trending: Self-Care, Unpacked
Brand Strategy
Trending: Self-Care, Unpacked
Don't guess at what your customers want, ask them. Learn how to conduct your own customer research with 4 easy methods.
How to Simplify Your Marketing
Brand Strategy
How to Simplify Your Marketing
We discuss the three components of any good brand strategy and how you can start using them to be more intentional with your marketing.
Brands We Love: Outdoor Voices
Brand Strategy
Brands We Love: Outdoor Voices
We’re back with another Brands We Love. This week, we’re talking recreation wear, with a focus on the brand Outdoor Voices.
Give Them Something to Believe In
Brand Strategy
Give Them Something to Believe In
This extra layer of meaning can help your customers understand how your brand can fit into their lives.
3 Simple Steps For Attracting Better Customers
Brand Strategy
3 Simple Steps For Attracting Better Customers
Some people think more customers is what they need. But more isn’t always better. Today we’re sharing 3 simple steps to attract better customers.
10 Signs it’s Time for a Brand Evolution
Brand Strategy
10 Signs it’s Time for a Brand Evolution
How do you know when it’s time for a change? Here are 10 signs that it’s time for a brand overhaul.
Brands We Love: Heaps Normal
Brand Strategy
Brands We Love: Heaps Normal
Today’s brand is Heaps Normal, an Australian non-alcoholic beer. We discuss our take on their branding— including their bold message about drinking.
Why Your Brand Needs to Pick a Fight
Brand Strategy
Why Your Brand Needs to Pick a Fight
Just like your favourite books and movies, every great brand story has its own powerful villain too.
Brands We Love: Jenna Kutcher
Brand Strategy
Brands We Love: Jenna Kutcher
A homage to brands that are kicking goals—from their visuals to their voice, they have found their place, tribe and style.
Customer Research: Not Just For Big Brands
Brand Strategy
Customer Research: Not Just For Big Brands
Don't guess at what your customers want, ask them. Learn how to conduct your own customer research with 4 easy methods.