When you are choosing worthy clients and making decisions about whether or not a prospect is worthy of your time and attention, whether or not they’re worthy of follow up, you are bound to make some mistakes in that process. And so when you do this, you have to recognize that some of that is going to come with the territory. You may make a wrong decision that will cost you some business down the line. So you have to weigh that against quality of life issues.

David: Hi, and welcome to the podcast. In today’s episode, co-host Jay McFarland, and I will be discussing choosing worthy clients. Welcome back, Jay.

Jay: Hey, thank you, David. It’s such a pleasure to be back on again. And once again, I love this topic. I feel like, personally in my experience, there is a tendency to believe that you have to take every client. And you know what? In some businesses that is true, you’re going to take every customer who comes through the door. In other cases, you can be more selective and it could make your life a lot easier. It can make your business a lot better.

David: Yeah, that’s one of the reasons I thought this would be a really good topic, because I believe that in many businesses they don’t even consider this.

I think that in many businesses we feel like, okay, we’re going to serve whoever we can serve. We want to take whoever comes through the door, and we just want to serve them to the best of our ability. And while that is noble, it’s not always great from your own standpoint, from your own business standpoint.

And I wish this was something that I knew from the beginning, but it was not. As most things, we learn it the hard way and this is no exception. And at some point along the way, the idea of pursuing worthy clients, choosing worthy clients, tracking down worthy clients just really started to appeal to me. And when I started using that term with some of my clients, they were like,” wow, that never even occurred to me. and what do you mean by worthy? You know, things like that. So we can dive into all of that in today’s podcast.

Jay: Yeah. I think that there are some things that we hear over the years and they start to sink in. We just don’t ever challenge ’em in our mode of thinking.

Like I think of the customer’s always, right. I’ve come to believe. No, no, that’s just not true. Do I want to do everything to satisfy the customer? Yes. Yes, I do. But there are customers who can never be satisfied or I can’t provide what they want. So, no, they’re not always right. So I love that we have these discussions. So let’s start off with this word worthy. What in your mind is a worthy customer?

David: Well, I think we have to decide that for ourselves, what we determine to be a worthy prospect or client for ourselves. And some of that can go back to what you talked about, in the customer’s always right or the customer’s not always right.

But you can have a customer that is absolutely right about things and you can have a good relationship with them, but they may not still be a worthy client if they are taking up more time than they are costing.

So if they’re not really focused on buying from you to the extent that you need them to in order to be worthy of your time and attention, it may be something as simple as that.

And in those situations, I’m not suggesting, okay, well you’re just going to bag all these people. If you’ve got a relationship with someone and you like the relationship you have and you’re okay with it, then you can deem that prospect or client worthy. You can say, “all right, well, I like dealing with this person, therefore they are worthy of my time and attention.”

But for me, I believe that’s where it starts. We each have to decide. Is this prospect or is this client worthy of my time and attention? Because obviously our time is the most important asset we have, and when we fail to recognize that, we can invest a lot of it, we can spend a lot of our time on prospects and clients who are not worthy of our time and attention.

And it could go back to what they’re buying from us or not buying from us. It can also get down to personalities. If they’re rude, obnoxious, belligerent, then they’re unworthy in a lot of cases to do business with us.

And I think sometimes as salespeople or as business owners, We don’t really look at it that way. We think, well, we have to be worthy. We have to grovel and try to get their approval and all that sort of thing. And I don’t really think it’s like that.

I think it certainly has to be a two-way street. Because anyone that we decide to do business with also has to decide to do business with us. They have to decide if they think that we are worthy of working with them.

But that’s their job.

Our job is to determine if they are worthy of working with us. And to me that simply means being proactive about your choice of prospect and your choice of customer. Now, you can’t always know that right away with a prospect. You can’t know if they’re going to be a worthy client.

But as you interview them, as you have conversations with them, as you qualify or disqualify them, you can make some judgments. You can make some decisions pretty quickly on whether or not this person seems to be a good fit for you and for your business, and whether or not you want to decide they’re worthy of doing business with you.

Jay: Yeah, you brought up so many points there. I hadn’t really thought about, just like the time to revenue ratio, right?

Because I grew up in the restaurant business, so we knew what our food costs should be. We knew what a plate of food should cost, we knew what our overhead should be, those types of things. And so that’s really easy to quantify. But in businesses where there’s a sales cycle, you know, those types of things, it’s a lot harder to quantify.

Well, how much time did I really take to close this sale? And then what is my time actually worth? Just that thought process, just that equation can be so powerful. And I also think taking the time, maybe just get out a pad of paper, if people still use pen and paper. I don’t know, I haven’t for years. But get that out and just write down, what do you think your worthy customer is?

How much time should it take to close a sale? What type of revenue should you expect from them? What should the communication look like? Those types of things.

David: Yeah. And once again, making the decisions that are most important from your standpoint, for your business, for your coworkers. For me, I think people being friendly, people being nice. People being willing to engage?

Willing to engage, willing to have conversation, that could be right at the top of the list. Because if they’re not willing to have conversations with you, then nothing’s going to happen. And there are people who you can have a great conversation with, and then they will just never take or return your phone calls again.

And when you determine that that’s happened, when you’ve determined that you’re interacting with someone, or you’re trying to interact with someone, who is no longer willing to communicate, you really have to determine your tolerance for pain and “how long am I willing to continue to do that?”

And I know that over the years for myself, that timeframe has gotten shorter and shorter and shorter. Whereas in the early stages, you know, you pursue people to the ends of the earth.

And now, you know, as I recognize the value of my own time, as I recognize the value of my coworker’s time, I don’t want them wasting time on people who are not worthy of our time and attention. So a lot of it could really start with that.

Are they even willing to engage? Are they willing to communicate? Do they seem reasonably friendly, personable, able to interact with us? And if those things are positive, then, are they qualified to buy? Do they need what we have to sell? Do they have the money to buy what we have to sell? And are they willing to work with us to buy it?

So those are all qualification questions and that really goes to a whole different topic when we get into the topic of qualification procedures, and all that sort of thing.

But just identifying the fact that there are prospects out there, some of whom are worthy of your time and attention, some of whom are not. And so a lot of our job in the early stages is discernment: deciding worthy or unworthy? And then following through on that.

Jay: Yeah, just having that mindset. I mean, I think there’s going to be a lot of people listening, like you said at the beginning. I’ve never even thought of these terms. I thought I was just supposed to deal with everybody.

You also said tolerance for pain. I know of customers, like when I look down and I see the caller id, and it’s that person, if I’m going, “oh man, you know, I don’t want to pick up this phone.” Sometimes it’s easy to ask yourself, am I worthy?

And I don’t think you’re saying we have to get rid of unworthy customers. I think we have to assess what we’re willing to do to continue to maintain that relationship.

I think back, and I’ve actually had times where I’ve picked up the phone to a customer who’s taking more time and I said, listen, this is what I can offer you. If that works for you, great, let’s continue the relationship. But if it doesn’t, maybe you should find somebody else because I can’t.

You can bring somebody into the worthiness zone. I know. I’ve done it.

David: Yeah, I think that’s very true. I also think that when you have a situation where you’re looking at your phone and you’re dreading answering it, if you at least have this in the back of your mind now, that there are worthy clients and there are unworthy clients, if somebody’s causing you to cringe when you look at your phone, you have to decide, “okay, does this make this person unworthy of my time?”

Jay: Yeah.

David: And if the answer is yes, then you make the appropriate decision. If it’s not quite that bad. Again, you make the appropriate decision for you. You stick with them or you decide to trade them in for somebody who is going to be a better fit.

And we can use words like that, better fit. This isn’t a good fit, that type of thing.

Worthy, definitely sounds judgmental.

Jay: Yes. Yeah.

David: And so that’s part of the reason I like the word, and it’s part of the reason that I don’t like the word.

I don’t like the word in the sense that it’s not about judging people. It’s about judging someone’s worthiness to do business with us. Right?

It’s about judging the validity or the likelihood of a good relationship. And we all have to do that.

We all have to do that every time we meet someone. We decide, “is this the type of relationship I would like to pursue?” And if the answer is yes, we pursue it. And if the answer is no, we can make that decision to not pursue it.

But again, I think particularly for salespeople who think “I have to sell anyone with a pulse, anyone who can fog a mirror,” this could be a bit of a change in approach.

Jay: Yeah. I love that you make a distinction between is it judgmental ? Because you’re really talking about it from your point of view. You’re not saying this person’s a jerk or an idiot, or anything like that. What you’re saying is, for my business to keep going and to do our best, is this somebody who we want to have a relationship with?

And I think that’s an important distinction because I know people who like will put in their CRM system, they’ll make notes like, this person is a complete, dot dot dot, you know what? And you’re jading other employees towards that person. And maybe you should rethink about your process, about how you’re going to classify them, so that it doesn’t turn into a situation where somebody who could be a good customer or who could be moved into that worthiness zone, we’re guaranteeing that they’re not worthy because our systems are just judging them, instead of judging how good they are for us.

David: Yeah, and that is such a great point. Because when you think about the fact that when you are making these decisions about whether or not a prospect is worthy of your time and attention, whether or not they’re worthy of follow up, you are bound to make some mistakes in that process.

And so when you do this, you have to recognize that some of that is going to come with the territory. You may make a wrong decision that will cost you some business down the line.

So you have to weigh that against. Quality of life issues.

Jay: Yeah.

David: Whether or not it would be worth it for you to cultivate this person to come along and to become the type of person that you would like to have as a customer. And again, if you’re willing to do it, you should absolutely do it.

But simply by keeping that term in mind, and again, if it sounds too judgmental to you, you can come up with a different word for it. But the advantage of it is that if you look at your phone and you dread the call, if there’s a particular customer that you’ve been servicing for a long time, that you’ve been thinking about possibly trading in for another one ,then just asking yourself, is this person worthy of my time and attention? Answer it for yourself.

You get to make the call. You can decide that every single person that you ever come in contact with is worthy of your time and attention and worthy of your focus. You can absolutely decide that.

But we’re not judging people here. We are judging their ability to buy from us, their ability to interact with us, their ability to utilize our products and services correctly, so it’s going to benefit them.

You know, there are people who I’ve talked to who have been interested in joining our Total Market Domination program, but based on the answers to the questions that we’ve asked them, we’ve said, “listen, I can’t really recommend this to you at this point.”

Jay: Mm-hmm.

David: And here’s why. And we’ll tell them why. We’ll recommend other solutions for them. And to me, that’s actually being conscientious. It’s not about saying, okay, we’re just going to take your money. It’s about saying, if this makes sense for you, if we really believe we can help you, we’re going to tell you that. And if we’re not sure we can help you, we’re going to tell you that, too.

Because the one thing we don’t want to have happen is we don’t want to take people into the program that we’re not confident we’re going to be able to help. And so to me, that goes into this equation as well.

Is this person at a point where they can benefit from what I’m offering them? If the answer is yes, then by all means it sounds like it’s a good fit. They’re absolutely worthy of our time and attention because we can help them. If we can’t help them, then at that point, I think it’s our duty to disqualify them.

Jay: Yeah. And it benefits both sides. And I also think it depends on where you’re at in your business cycle. I mean, early on to pay the bills, you are probably going to take everybody regardless of how much time it takes.

And then as you grow and progress, hopefully you can become more choosy. It’s a great place to be as a business owner. Great discussion, David. How can people find out more?

David: Well, you can go to top secrets.com/call, register for a call with myself or my team, and we can walk you through it.

If this is something that interests you, if this is potentially a focus of yours or even if it’s just something you want to consider. If you’d like to start today, looking at the opportunity to attract, qualify, and convert the type of clients you want, more worthy clients, if that sounds good to you, then schedule a call with us. We would be happy to do that.

Jay: All right. I love it. Thank you so much, David.

David: Thank you, Jay.

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