The Right Customer

ThinkstockPhotos-486314762When you’re in staffing or any form of sales, you become conditioned early in your career that you have to go after any business that’s available. This is a great, initial strategy for getting your feet wet but what about when you’ve been in a niche sales arena for several years and you’ve established an eclectic customer base? This is a time when you should evaluate your quality customers versus your marginal ones. When you do this, you become more adept at delineating quality customers as opposed to time wasters.

There are several criteria for helping you streamline your customers and prospects, but I’m going to focus on some of the tried-and-true benchmarks that should help you on the path of managing your time effectively instead of letting your time or bad customers manage you.

One of the more prominent signs that should make you think twice about holding on to a customer is a constant lack of loyalty. I can’t count the number of times I’ve gone out of my way to provide extra customer service or given special attention to a customer and you call that particular manager over a long period of time and he/she just filled a position without notifying you about the role or it’s going to a vendor that just entered their radar. It’s definitely a sign that your value has been trivialized or you and other people in your profession are viewed as a necessary evil that you utilize to accomplish the task of hiring personnel. Use this a definitive sign that you need to de-emphasize this customer as well. It doesn’t mean that you rule this customer out, but it’s a great indicator that you can prioritize your time on customers that respect the service(s) that you’re providing them.

Another litmus is when you make a placement and the candidate that you place never satiates that manager’s thirst for more or totally pleases them. If half your job becomes apologizing or feeling as if you’re constantly walking on egg shells, you have to empathize with your candidates that you’re placing with this manager and know that they’re treading in the same, shallow waters.

Another red flag is when a customer that you have an ongoing relationship with is constantly wanting to negotiate rates, ask for a discount, look for shorter amount of hours a consultant works before conversion or some other concession in order to please them. Remember, when you have a standing relationship with this company, you as a vendor are a customer and should have respect reciprocated as well. There’s a great reason why we have contracts in place.

Another great standard that you should use for evaluation is return on investment (ROI). If you’ve been calling on a client for multiple years and only have one to two placements to show for it and you’re providing the same quality service as you have for other customers, you have to evaluate the time you’re putting in with this customer and realizing you can get better, more tangible results with other accounts.

There are several other metrics that you should use when evaluating time allocated relative to results, but these are some of the prominent ones that can separate you from being an average performer as opposed to an all-star whose value and consultative impact is truly valued.

Michael Barefoot

Michael Barefoot
Michael Barefoot is senior account executive at Red Zone Resources. He can be reached at mikeb (at ) redzoneresources (dot) com.

Michael Barefoot

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