Follow Your Own Rules!
If clients are calling you at all hours, they are in control of your business and life!
I also find that the success you achieve is directly related to how much structure you have in your business. The more rules and structure you have and adhere to, the more your customers respect you and the better your results. If you do not respect yourself by creating rules in your own life and business, why should a customer respect you? Often, if you have no rules, your customers make them for you, or you make them up on the fly, which causes long-term problems and challenges. This is where we end up with clients in our databases that we would love to fire—but it’s not their fault we had no rules!
There are only two sets of rules in business: your rules and the customers’ rules. You want to run your business according to your rules. Otherwise, you will have your clients making rules for you that you are not pleased with, and they will be truly in charge of your business.
Here are a few examples of the rules that you should have in your business to create the structure that you want:
- Core values
- Client rules (niche marketing)
- Pricing rules, which dictate the profit you want to make
- Discount rules
- Return policies
- Warranties and guarantees
- Office hours
- Communication response times
- Delivery times
- Emergency contact times and numbers
- Social media rules
- Client care policies
- Expense policies
- Gift policies
- Referral programs
- Loyalty programs
There are a lot more of these rules and structures that you can put in place, but the most important part is understanding that when you have rules in place, it lets your prospects and clients know that you have a structured business. At certain times you may have to deviate slightly from these rules, and you should either modify the rule you have or make an exception. Exceptions should be extremely rare. If you are often making exceptions, then you need to relook at the rules you have in place and adjust them accordingly.
Many rules are broken because the entrepreneur does not want to let their client down and feels compelled to win the order, or maybe does not want to upset the client or prospect. Deviating from your rules causes chaos and often ongoing expectations. And it only lets your client know that you can be manipulated into changing things to suit them. Once you let a client walk over you, they will continue to expect this and in some cases will drive you crazy!
If you are forever shifting the rules, you will cause chaos in your business, and you will be running according to rules that your clients make up for you. They will often bring their friends who expect the same, and you will end up with a database of clients you’re serving for little to no income! Remember, you do have the right to fire clients. At our Sales Warrior event, we talk about value and finding and retaining clients. The most important skill you need to learn in sales is that “cost is only an issue in the absence of value,” and that if you are dropping your price, you most likely do not understand your value. We have a specialized process called the value calculator that people learn at the Sales Warrior event to assist with determining value. Once you know your value, you will very seldom reduce your price.
We have lived by the headline, “Is finding more clients causing you stress?” But adding a single word makes it go hand-in-hand with value: “Is finding profitableclients causing you stress?”
I always say that clients are like children: when you have a well-structured environment, it leads them to respect you and understand that you are in control of where your business is going. If we have no rules for children, chaos prevails, and that’s often what I see in many small businesses. Pricing varies from one client to another, discounts are not fixed, and clients can call them any time.
The most important part of setting rules is ensuring that you follow them. This demonstrates to your clients, colleagues, and staff that you know what you are doing.
You might say that you don’t have rules in your business because you are small or a start-up and that it’s not important, but in fact it’s critical. The sooner you set the rules, the sooner you will find profitable and ideal clients. Sadly, many entrepreneurs break the rules because the order the client is holding is more than what is in the entrepreneur’s bank account, so they drop their price and are completely abused by the client. Also, when you capitulate and drop your price, your client often goes out and tells others, and now you have a number of clients wanting the same service and/or product for the same prices. This is when you start limiting your success in your business!
There are some instances when you may alter the rules, and a good one is when you want to get a client onboard who will add a ton of credibility to your business and whom you know you can use in your marketing to generate more clients. The most important part is setting the rules for the deal, and also ensuring that the rules are extremely well communicated to the client.
I have trained for many large organizations like Sun Life Financial, Curves, Bank of Montreal, Bank of Nova Scotia, and Fitness Town, and I can tell you that I structured an outrageous offer to get Sun Life Financial onboard. I knew that once they were a client, I could use their name in meetings and proposals (with testimonials), and if they trusted me, it would add huge credibility to who I am and what I can deliver. Because of Sun Life Financial, I ended up winning the Bank of Montreal as a client at my full rate.
you can email colin at Colinsprake@gmail.com
Author: Colin Sprake is the CEO of Make Your Mark, a Canadian company of live seminars, online entrepreneur academy and live accountability groups that have helped 10,000’s of Entrepreneurs achieve rapid results in small business growth and development. Colin is a best-selling author of ‘Entrepreneur Success Recipe’ and trains for BMO, Sun Life Financial, Scotia Bank, T.D. Bank and lives by the tagline Business With Soul – putting heart back into business!
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