MEG meets every fortnight for networking and a roundtable discussion. This week we looked at the importance of matching your clients to your business.
Making your business offering attractive to prospects is important, but so is attracting the right kind of client or customer, one that aligns with your offering.
Finding the right fit matters.
Who is the Right Client?
For you to be able to deliver on what your brand promises, you must be able to meet your client’s expectations. But what if these expectations are unrealistic?
To be able to work effectively you need to know, as far as is possible, that a potential client will be right for what you offer. They will be evaluating your services to see if they meet their needs, but you should be going through a similar exercise.
However, this can be easier said than done.
The pressing urge to take on business may end up overriding other considerations, but then this can come at a different kind of cost.
Because the wrong fit can have long-term consequences, if you become stuck in an unhealthy relationship with a client.
What, then, makes a client the right fit?
- Do they have a clear idea of what they want from you?
- Is this something you usually provide, or will you need to adapt?
- Do they fit in with your existing portfolio of work?
- Is their timeline realistic?
- Does their budget match your price range?
- Will your processes and project management meet their expectations?
- Are they a good fit culturally?
Turning work away is difficult, but sometimes it is the right thing to do to ensure you stay on track with your own long-term objectives.
Supplier or Adviser?
What role does your client expect you to take in the relationship, and does this gel with how you are positioning yourself?
If a client sees you as simply a supplier of services, this may end up souring your relationship, if your own expectation is to be fulfilling a more comprehensive, consultative role.
Or the opposite could be true, where your client expects more strategic and advisory input than your agreed brief and budget allows.
Agile or Waterfall?
There are different methods for delivering projects, but if the client’s way of working is different from your own, then you could be setting yourself up for future misunderstandings, disagreements or event conflict.
- The waterfall model has specific deliverables for each phase of a project. It follows a sequential process, with the next phase only happening once the previous phase has been completed satisfactorily.
- The agile model focuses more on continuous development, with concurrent development and testing processes. It allows for greater flexibility and a dynamic responsiveness to changing client demands.
If, for example, the client expects you to work to a waterfall model, but you are more equipped for agile project management, then there is a fundamental mismatch in working methods.
Confidence and Discipline
Being able to filter prospective clients takes courage and confidence. At the same time, a degree of adaptability is probably going to go over better with clients than absolute, dogmatic rigidity.
As with so many aspects of business, it is about striking the right balance, without sacrificing the integrity of what you do.
The discipline to turn away work that will, in the end, be the wrong fit, requires a certain maturity of outlook, and a perspective that is about long-term positioning rather than short-term gain.
Knowing who you are also means knowing who you want to work with.
More About MEG
MEG is Manchester Enterprise Group. We meet every fortnight for networking and a roundtable discussion, followed by breakfast.
We’re not referral-based, and we don’t expect you to adhere to a set of rules. Instead, we focus on mutual support, shared insights, and building trust. It’s all about participation without pressure.