Fire a Client!
Fire a Client!
Yep, I fired a client this morning. Here’s why – A long distance couple attempted to hire us for wedding coordination. We exchanged several emails, had phone meetings, and finally, a visit with a family member (just so they could be sure). I finally received “the email” – the one that says we’re ready to hire you now and we dropped a check in the mail – except there’s a catch! “We’ve reviewed your contract and there are several (over 20) changes we’d like to make before we send you the deposit. Please review the changes we’ve made to the contract, sign, and return to us”, read the email. So I read, and laughed! There were changes that were absolute non negotiable for us.
It was clear from the changes they requested that they thought we were in the “playing wedding” business and not running an actual business. There was even an adjustment to make our fees fully refundable if for any reason they cancelled their wedding date, up to the actual wedding date! I won’t go much more into the specific changes that were being requested, but I will say that they would illicit laughter from the audience.
This couple was clearly not our ideal client, and it was obvious from our first conversation with them. They wanted a day of coordinator but they really needed a full service planner. Their wedding details were mind boggling. They lived in another state and were not planning on making any site visits prior to showing up the day before the wedding. All told, they were requesting a level of service that they weren’t willing to pay for. And we’re not willing to compromise on our level of service. It’s what sets us apart from the herd and why we are able to charge the rates we do.
But, like many of you out there, I sometimes fall back into old habits and try to make the wrong client the right client. And this was the wrong client for us. So, I had to slap my own hand, tell the couple that I would no longer accept them as a client at their current level of requested service (and why), send their check back to them, and move on. It hurt. I wanted their business. Their wedding sounded great. It would have been beautiful – but make no mistake, it would have been the wrong choice for our business! Our service level would have suffered and our staff would have become frustrated with the handicap that they would have been working with. The client would have been none the wiser, but our business would have suffered for it.
Are you taking the wrong clients for your business? Do you even know what the right client looks like? If you don’t know the answer to these questions, I would suggest that you stop what you’re doing right now – not later – and figure out the answer. This is not a time to make a list of current clients! This is a time to put pencil to paper and write down a short list of what your ideal client looks like. What are their hobbies? What do they do for a living? Where do they live? Don’t be afraid to get really specific, like what church they go to, or what day care they send their kids to. Now, compare your ideal client list to your actual client list. If it doesn’t match, you have a problem.
Stuck? Can’t quite figure out who you’re ideal client is? Wedding Industry Rescue provides one on one and group coaching for businesses just like yours. Contact us today