Joshua Conran is the Managing Partner at Deksia.View all articles written by this author
The potential client research may lead you in a different direction. When you do the stakeholder research for a restaurant owner, they might say their competition is McDonald’s and Burger King. Because that might be the kind of customer they think they’re getting. But once we do the potential client research, and we talk to the people who might take them where they actually want to go, it comes out that their competition is more like Applebee’s and Chili’s.
Part of the reason we do potential client research after stakeholder and current client is because your current clients may not completely line up with your potentials based on the information we’ve gathered about where you want to go, who you think you are and who you really are. For example, an auto garage may have hundreds and hundreds of current clients, and a successful business. However, they might want to move to the next level, and that includes a slight customer change: going from a client that spends an average of $250 dollars for a visit to a client that spends up to an average of $350 per interaction.
Your current client might say they love your prices. Then we do research on the potential client, and they what they really care about is service. So the takeaway is your prices are great, you’re attracting customers that are only spending $250 dollars; and those people are going to drive away your target client of $350 based on the way that your brand is represented by them, because people are going to associate you with that type of client. So you might need to alienate that first-tier base, and focus more on service than price, because those $350 clients don’t care about price, they care about service.
Firing clients is a viable strategy when growing a business. It’s not one that’s often focused on, because people want cash flow and clients; however, sometimes you do need to alienate clients to grow, because you can’t make everyone happy. You can’t just maintain your current client base. You’ll lose some customers, but you won’t lose all of them.
The idea is to create a brand for every business that pre-qualifies the clients they want and turns off those they don’t. When you talk to potentials it taps into a whole new area you haven’t looked at yet, because you don’t work with these people, and they’re not you. You’re not going to have this perspective until you do that research, which will open up whole new areas going forward.