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How Promiscuous Are You?

May I ask you a personal question, as a friend? It’s important…

In lots of ways, business and marketing are like dating.

Just like dating, there are different ways to go about it, so you need to find what really works for you, and avoid falling into habits that don’t work.

Ideally, every business wants to find its ideal match in the market. But too many are promiscuous, spending too much time courting the wrong customers, sending out the wrong messages, and this can really cost you.

It is tempting to think that you need to:

  • chase a lot of different customers,
  • say “yes” to any offer,
  • avoid turning away any business,
  • and keep looking for new customers

But apply the same approach to dating. If you feel you have to date every potential partner that comes along, you’ll get a mix of good and bad experiences. But will you be able to spot (and secure) the really good ones when you see them?

Your time, energy and attention will be split. When you do get a great match, you’ll still be spending a lot of time dating lots of others, so will you be able to devote the attention to that one really good one? Will you be able to listen to them, to make them feel special, exceed their expectations?

I believe that it is vital to be disciplined when it comes to choosing which prospects to talk to. Choose what you really want and put it out there. If prospects come along that don’t look like a good match, don’t go there.

Avoid taking on clients and projects that will use up your time and resources, if they’re not the right ones.

When you do find a “keeper”, you’ll be able to devote the right attention to them, and you may find that something amazing happens.

In my previous agency, I used to process maybe 30 sales leads every month. This took time: filtering, setting up calls, writing proposals, and teaching new clients the way we work.

These days, we’ve shut the doors to new clients. Our team focuses our attention on literally a handful of clients. They get more of our attention and time, because I’m available. I’m not spending my days kissing more frogs, but on making my best clients happy.

And you know what? We’re doing better business, and we’re doing it with ease. We’re doing better work for our favourite clients, getting it done more quickly, and these clients are always ready to come back for more.

With the space this gives us, I know we can give out the exact message, and we can afford to be really choosy about any new business. That was always the case, but I needed the confidence to believe it’s possible to break the cycle.

(Photo from bixentro on Flickr)

About the author

Ben Hunt

Ben has over 20 years' experience in web design and marketing, and is one of the most influential figures on the subject of effective web design. He has written a bunch of books and spoken at multiple conferences internationally.In 2015, Ben created Open-Source Marketing, which promises to turn the practice of marketing upside down.. Find out more at http://opensourcemarketingproject.org

New York - 4 years ago

I like the article but when you’re first starting a company, I think it’s much harder to pick and choose who you want to work with. Especially when you’re in need of the money for your expenses.

I think this process will work great after you’ve done your “dating” and you have a hefty amount of choices.

Agnes Ikotun - 4 years ago

I completely agree with this article because I’ve experienced it.

If you don’t pick and choose from start, regardless of your expenses. You’d more than likely not find any clients and if you found some, they’d be totally wrong for you. You’ll not make any money and you’ll resent your business because you end up doing what you don’t want to.

Heaven forbid you get the clients that want to nickel and dime you. They’ll smell your desperation from miles away and take advantage of it.

It’s best to have one great relationship, no matter how long it takes…learn from it, so you can duplicate your results many times over. Compared to having many wrong relationships that you don’t gain anything from…except for burn-out, misery and no money to show for all the stress.

This article tells the truth, thanks Ben.

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