I know people who have been in business for decades and they’ve held onto clients 5, 10, 15 years longer than they should have, because they never got this simple thing down. Declare independence from poor quality clients. If you’ve got a way to generate new clients consistently, like clockwork, you don’t have to deal with that. You can become independent from poor quality clients, but you have to have that plan in place.
David: Hi, and welcome to the podcast. It is Independence Day in the United States, and today co-host Jay McFarland and I will be declaring independence from underperforming business tactics. Welcome back, Jay.
Jay: Hey, thank you so much David, and happy 4th of July to you and everybody else, and once again, I love this topic because I think there’s a lot of things that we’re all doing that we really haven’t stood back and assessed. Is that productive? Do I just do it because I’ve always done it. A good analysis of these things could probably save you a lot of time and effort.
David: Yeah, absolutely. And personally, I just love the 4th of July. I love Independence Day. I love the idea of independence. I think a lot of people do. And whether or not it’s actually achievable on a personal or a business level, because it’s probably not. I mean, we’re all dependent on other people to some extent or another.
But to the extent that it is possible, I like to sort of look at what are the things that I would like to become independent of? What are the things that I’m dependent on that I’m not comfortable with? And then say, “alright, what can I do to change that?”
So I feel like that’s a reasonable starting point. Understanding that, are we really going to be completely independent? Well, no, we’re going to have to get our food from somewhere. We’re going to have to have customers. There are a lot of things that we’re dependent on.
In most industries, I mean, we’re going to be dependent on suppliers, prospects, customers, supply chains, availability of cash or credit. That’s not going to change. We will be dependent on some of those things, but what are the things that we can become independent of?
That’s what I think starts to get interesting.
Jay: Yeah. I totally agree with you and I’ve, had this experience where somebody from the outside has come in, and maybe they’re just new to the company or maybe they’re a consultant and they look at what we’re doing and they’re like, why are you doing this? And I sit back and I go, Well, I’m not really sure.
And then I’ve had the same thing where people have asked me to come into their business and within seconds, sometimes I can identify things and we get in that tunnel vision, and we don’t take time to step back and say, you know, why are we doing those things?
I would really like independence from this thing, but I feel like it’s necessary. And maybe it’s not.
David: Yeah. And if you consider the things that you really want to sort of separate yourself from, the things that you really want to become independent of.
Like when I think about that, for me, it’s like, okay, I know that I’m going to be dependent on suppliers to some extent, but can I become independent of poor quality suppliers, right?
David: I know I’m going to be dependent to some extent on prospects. But can I become independent of poor quality prospects? Poor quality clients, right? If there are clients that I’m interacting with because they’re in there and I’m afraid to let go of them, what do I have to do to change that?
What do I have to do to become confident enough in my ability to generate new clients that I’d be willing to let go or sacrifice some of the old ones?
And that’s where I feel like this conversation has value.
Jay: Yeah, I totally agree with you. And you know, it just occurs to me how many people got into business, started their own business because they wanted independence. And now the question is, did you find that independence or did you give yourself a job where you’re working twice as many hours, but you’re making the same amount of money.
Did you just get yourself a job that you hate? So again, I love this idea of independence and really just, you know, like you said, it doesn’t mean you’re going to free yourself up from everything, but can you improve each of those things, whether it’s efficiency…
One of the things that I’ve seen that causes a real lack of independence is cashflow problems. You know, you’re making enough money, but you’re not getting that money at the right time. And so can you adjust that? Are there things that you can do there?
David: Yeah. And if you just look at the things that drive you crazy on a daily basis, chances are you’re going to see the same things recurring day after day, week after week, year after year.
And the only way to change that, the only way to adjust it or to fix it, is to first sort of isolate what are those things? What are the things that are actually driving me crazy? Because until you do that, you don’t even know what it is that you’re looking to get rid of or you’re looking to become independent of.
So if you start there and then say, okay, is it even possible to become independent of this? And as I said, in some cases it’s not possible to become completely independent of a particular thing, but is it possible to become independent of the aspects of that thing or the particular instance of that thing or that person or place or incident, that you could at least switch your allegiances and become dependent on somebody who’s going to be more reliable?
Jay: Yeah, I love this suggestion. Because so often we talk about this, you can’t solve something until you’re aware of it, especially when you’re looking at yourself and improving yourself. So just having a notepad, making a reminder using your phone. I think even having people that you work with just, “Hey, do me a favor when you hear me complaining about something, make a note. And give it to me.”
And if you did that for 24 hours or for a week, you’d probably have a pretty good list and you might be surprised at how many things are driving you crazy.
David: Yeah. And if you think in terms of descriptions of things, there’s a big difference between relationships and toxic relationships. Right?
So while I am entirely dependent upon human relationships, maybe I’m not dependent upon toxic relationships. And I think everyone in business and just in life can occasionally identify relationships where you say, “wow, this one really isn’t working.”
And you can go into them with some of the best of intentions and sometimes it just doesn’t work. But by looking at it, by identifying it as what it is, it does become a lot easier then to say, okay, whatever it takes, I’m going to need to cut off this relationship and maybe start to form some new ones that are going to be better for myself, my business, my coworkers, you know, all the people who matter in my life.
Jay: Yeah. And that can be difficult. You may not be in control totally with the people that you work with. And so that can be a process, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make adjustments. I’ll never forget my teenage son, he had a manager who he just couldn’t get along with and she had this need to demonstrate that she was a manager.
And so she would tell you to do things that you knew how to do you’d already been trained on. And so he says, “I fixed it.” And I’m like, “how did you fix it?” And he said, I go up to her and I ask her the dumbest questions to make her feel like she’s, you know, something I’ve been doing for 10 years before she got here.
And I just go up and I ask her, how should I do this? It makes her feel like she’s the boss. And then he doesn’t have any conflict with her. And I’m like, what a ridiculous workaround, but it made his life so much easier.
David: Yeah. We have to do these things. I was having lunch with a friend of mine the other day and we were talking about the idea of situational power freaks, right?
People who are in a particular situation of power, and actually the discussion that we were having was related to some government workers that my friend was dealing with. And he would go into this organization and since they weren’t being evaluated on their customer service, he just had to deal with what he was getting.
I mean, I think anybody who’s ever gone into, you know, the DMV, some post offices that you go into, not all of them, some of them are great. It’s not just government either, but there are situations where you walk in and somebody is the only person that can help you with what it is you’re looking to do, so you can’t totally alienate them, but they’re just brutal.
It’s just incredibly difficult to deal with them, because they’re in a situation of power and they have this sense of control, and they want to exercise it on every single person who presents in front of them.
It can be extremely frustrating when you’re dealing with that on the receiving end, and you never want to be on the dispersing end. You never want to be in a situation where you are the person who is making other people feel badly just because you can do it.
Jay: Yeah, I totally agree with you, and there are adjustments that you can make, but I mean, what if this person we’re talking about is a vendor and they’re the only vendor that you have to rely on?
I think sometimes it can do you a really good service to sit back and say, “okay, instead of getting angry, instead of getting amped up, are the things that I can do to make this relationship easier or to declare independence from it as we’ve stated that’s the goal of this podcast.
And you could do that with individuals, with people you know, to really, again, self-assessment. What is really bothering me? What can I do about it?
David: Yeah, and in the promotional products industry, interacting with suppliers is key, because 85%, at least, of the success that a promotional product distributor is going to have, is going to be entirely dependent upon the suppliers they choose to work with.
Because If I’m a distributor and I take an order from a client and I place that order with the supplier, if that supplier doesn’t deliver, it’s my reputation that’s on the line.
And so that’s one of the reasons that we got involved with the SmartEQP program, SmartEQP.com, to be able to help distributors to really be able to focus in on the suppliers that are going to consistently deliver for them. Because without that, your entire business reputation is on the line.
Jay: Oh yeah. And talk about a frustration and something you need independence from. You also mentioned at the start of this podcast, customers. They may be in that same power situation. There are abusive customers, and early on you feel like, you know, I can’t cut this person loose.
But hopefully, as you move forward, you get to the point where you’re like, look, I can’t deal with you under these circumstances.
I’d love to keep offering you a service, but there’s some things that have to change. If not, I will cut you loose. And sometimes that’s enough to create the change that you’re looking for. Other times, if you can get rid of that toxicity, it can change your whole business.
David: And your whole life, yeah.
Jay: Yes, yes.
David: You know, as a coach and as a consultant, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had conversations with clients who are basically saying, I have these customers that drive me crazy. And every single time when we have that conversation, when I’m able to show them the way that they can reliably, consistently, predictably bring new clients through the door like clockwork, it becomes a hundred times easier for you..
To be able to let go of the ones that no longer serve their needs as a business owner. Or as a salesperson. And it’s not just new people. I mean, certainly in the early stages of a business, we don’t want to let go of anyone.
But I know people who have been in business for decades and they’ve held onto clients 5, 10, 15 years longer than they should have, because they never got this simple thing down.
That if you’ve got a way to generate new clients consistently, like clockwork, you don’t have to deal with that. There’s a situation where you can become independent from poor quality clients, but you have to have that plan in place.
Jay: Yeah, I think we’ve had it pounded into our head for years. The customer is always right, and the reality is that’s simply not true. And if you can be more decisive about who you serve, wow, that can have an impact. David, I love this discussion. How can people find out more?
David: Well, you can go to TopSecrets.com/call to schedule a call with myself or my team, and we can help you with this. If you’re looking to become more independent from whatever it is that’s driving you crazy in your business, we’d love to help you with that.
And just as an extension of what we were talking about momentarily, I’d just like to say that if this is something you’re struggling with right now, what I would suggest you do is to first identify the specific things that you want to free yourself from, right? Jot those down, figure that out first.
Second, create a plan to do that. And if you need help with that, again, TopSecrets.com/call, we’d be happy to help work you through that.
And then the third step is to execute. And while I’d like to say execute flawlessly, that’s not realistic. So what I will say is you need to execute consistently. Because if you’re able to do that, execute consistently, again and again and again, you will get there.
And if you need help, once again, give us a call. We’d love to have the conversation.
Jay: Well, and that’s one of the things I love about what you do is you don’t just speak in generalities. You give people specific steps. And hopefully they can walk away from today and you know, start working on that list. And that’s a huge step forward, David. So I appreciate your time today.
David: Thank you, Jay.
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