Who shouldn’t you serve?

This is a guest post from Drew McLellan, CEO and Top Dog at McLellan Marketing Group. See the original post this is adapted from and more like it on his blog.

Who shouldn’t you serve?

store signI have often said that the power of a good brand is not only does it attract your sweet spot customers, but it repels the wrong customers.

Too many businesses adopt the “every dollar is a good dollar” philosophy, which inevitably brings them misery, unhappy customers, and financial losses.

When you try to serve people who are a bad fit — they almost always leave, disgruntled. And that’s after you have chased your tail, trying to make them happy — even if it means you lose your shirt.

You’re far better off to dramatically narrow your focus.

Only serve the people/companies who can be your very best customers, or as Steve Farber says in Radical Leap, — “Doing What You Love in the Service of People Who Love What You Do.”

The picture with this post is a window at a Tattoo Parlor in Asheville, NC. Clearly, they know exactly who they do and don’t want to serve. And while they have taken a rather aggressive way of communicating that — it’s highly unlikely that they get a lot of walk ins who turn out to be bad customers.

I’m not suggesting you post a sign.

But I am suggesting that there’s value in knowing exactly who you should and who you shouldn’t serve and going out of your way to be equally clear on both sides of the equation.

By the way, this isn’t rocket science. Make a list of your best customers — the people you’d clone if you could. What do they have in common?

Next, make a list of the people who you’d pay to stop serving. What do they have in common?

Now — look at your marketing messages. How can you tweak them so they attract your best customers and communicate to your worst clients that they’d be better off going somewhere else?

You cannot have a love affair with your worst customers.

You simply can’t woo them and win their hearts. So it’s better to let someone else have them so you can concentrate on the people who truly will love you and what you do for them.

About Drew McLellan

Wall Street Journal calls Drew McLellan’s blog, DrewsMarketingMinute.com, "one of the ten blogs every entrepreneur should read." His passion is helping clients discover their story so they can create authentic love affairs with their customers. He's also an author, national speaker, and has owned his own marketing agency in the Midwest since 1995.

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