In this episode, Jon Kazarian, Accelevents CEO, redefines event success by bridging the C-suite gap, streamlining operations, and discovering...
Episode 15: The Importance of Finding Your Perfect Customer
Learn how to save time, money, and angst by going through the Perfect Customer Profile exercise in this episode of Corralling The Chaos.
Here's What We're Talking About 💬
- Have you ever wanted to fire a client?
- Why you should listen to that feeling in your gut.
- Why companies need to go beyond ICPs.
- Why you should identify what your not-ideal-customer looks like.
- How to save time, money, and angst going through this exercise.
Read The Transcript 📚
Angela Alea: Have you ever wanted to fire a client? [00:00:34] Sure, most of us have wanted to, but have you ever had the courage to actually do it? If you answered yes to that, did you ever take the time to figure out how it even got that far? Because, I mean, it's kind of a big deal to go to someone who's actually paid you money sometimes lots of it, and say, Hey, we can't work together because we just aren't a good fit.
Today, I want to [00:01:00] talk about what does being the right fit mean. Most of us as companies only go so far when we talk about characteristics of our ICP or your ideal customer profile. But do you ever talk about your PCP or perfect customer? Or Hey, what about putting pen to paper and being intentional about what a not-ideal customer looks like?
[00:01:24] Things like there's no way my customer is cheap, or there's no way my customer has weak leadership in place, or there's no way my customers would mistreat my team. It's so important to take the time to think through that as well. Because many times you can learn more about your ideal customer through who they are not.
And I'm not sure if there's a right or wrong way to approach identifying these categories. [00:01:45] But what I will tell you is you can save yourself a lot of time, a lot of money, and quite honestly, a lot of angst by going through the exercise. [00:02:00] So let me give you an example. Of what we at LASSO do to identify our ICP.
[00:02:06] So our ICP is we are focused on one vertical, the events and entertainment industry. That is all we work with. We are not trying to be anything to anybody else. Our ICP is also a project-based company. Everything they do revolves around a project or an event. They typically hire a contingent workforce. So there are complexities of hiring people on and off your bench to work for an event.
[00:02:32] That's a really important characteristic we look for. They typically do 5 million or more in revenue, and they're based in the US. Those are five different characteristics that we look for. Now, does this mean we wouldn't work with an international customer who's doing less than 5 million? It depends.
[00:02:50] That's where the more subjective things come into play and where it pays to take it a step further. So those criteria I just discussed, those are all [00:03:00] objective criteria that I can quite honestly, easily get my hands on, especially with today's lead generation tools. These are all things that make them ideal to work with, but the magic isn't here.
[00:03:12] It's in the qualities that make up our perfect customer profile. Or PCP. So the number one thing we look for, In a perfect customer throughout the sales process is their desire to innovate and do better. You know, the ones who are never content, they're always striving to improve and they're curious. They push the envelope, they won't stop at becoming better versions of themselves.
[00:03:41] I mean, isn't that what we're all pitching to our customers? To give them the ability to do something bigger, better push the limits? That's the magic in. To our perfect customer profile. Unfortunately, it's subjective though, so there isn't a box that tells you that. In your lead generation tools. Some other subjective [00:04:00] characteristics that we personally filter through is, do they value relationships?
[00:04:04] Are they communicative? Are they fair with our team? Are they honest? Are they ethical? Are they gonna make us better? Those again are things that you're only gonna discover through the process, going deeper with those prospects through the relationship. So take the time as a company to identify these things and then don't veer.
[00:04:29] No matter what. Focus on the companies that are gonna help you succeed, the ones you're set up to deliver epic experiences. Know who you are, know who you wanna serve. Be specific. Don't stop with just the objective things. Think about your favorite customer for a minute. Then get together as a team and describe them!
[00:04:52] Describe everything about them. Be very specific. What is their team like? How do they communicate? How do they [00:05:00] leverage technology? How do they handle challenges with your team? Because let's face it, when you're in the trenches with a customer, there's always challenges, right? But how do your teams together handle those things?
[00:05:12] How do they collaborate with your team? These are just as important as the objective things, like what are their revenues? What is their industry? What's their geographical location? Again, they all make up the puzzle of identifying who you wanna work with. Now that we know what our ICP and PCP is, is there anyone you need to cut bait with?
[00:05:36] Probably a little uncomfortable to think about, right? Maybe some that you might need to back out of the sales process with. Look at your pipeline, Take a look. Once you and your team have identified those things, is there anybody you should back out? I mean, let's face it, we're all guilty of going after the win.
[00:05:54] Despite the cost veering away from what we know. I mean, we know it, right? When you make a [00:06:00] bad decision, it's kinda like, You know what? I knew this, My gut told me this was not something we should do. So pay attention to that tension and yeah, sure it might be a seven-figure win, but what are you gonna lose by getting that when maybe it's the respect of your team.
[00:06:17] I mean, let's face it, they can all see bad business coming a mile away. Pay attention to that. Sometimes they're the best barometer of what a fit is for us, so pay attention to. Perhaps it's the opportunity to knock it outta the park for our perfect customer because we're too busy trying to make it work with a non-fit. Some employees actually leave by being put consistently in no-win situations.
[00:06:39] Set your team up for success. Sometimes we can lose our reputation. And an effort to try and just do something good with non fits. We lose our focus as a company because we take on bad business. And yes, I'm gonna say it many times, our bad fits cost us our profit because we're chasing after [00:07:00] the wrong thing at all costs.
[00:07:03] So if you think you may have one of these bad fits right now in your pipeline, take the time to evaluate the characteristics you're looking for. If they aren't that, tell them that. Say, hey, I would be doing us both a disservice if we continued in the sales process. I don't think we're the best company to help you accomplish x.
[00:07:23] There's power in that. You may even be surprised how they receive that and what they do with it. Most companies admire that. They admire the courage that it takes to say, Hey, we care more about giving you a great outcome and we may not be the best fit. Or, Hey, we don't think you're the best fit for our company.
[00:07:43] This is kind of our wheelhouse. This is where we really excel. We just don't think it makes sense to continue in the process, so it creates the opportunity to have a different type of conversation and engagement. It's counterintuitive, but I promise it's powerful. [00:08:00] My next question is, do you have a current client that isn't a fit?
[00:08:05] That's a little different, right? You know, the one whose event you and your team dread doing each year. Is it time to break up with them? My hope for all of us these days is everyone has spread so incredibly thin is to be intentional with your company's times and efforts. Take the time to identify the ones you want to work and the ones that you shouldn't be working with.
[00:08:28] And then have the courage to cut bait with those. Last week, we had to break up with a seven-figure customer, and in hindsight, honestly, full transparency, we should never have agreed to work with them from the start because not only did they not fit our objective characteristics, but they were lacking One of the things we value most.
[00:08:47] Collaboration and communication. There was none of that. And because of that, it wreaked havoc on our team, caused them undue stress. And when I called to personally [00:09:00] apologize to each one of our team members for allowing that to happen, one of them said, I know that must have been really hard to fire them.
[00:09:07] I know they were worth a lot to our company. And it kind of took me back. It made me sad. I was kind of disappointed too, because it actually wasn't a difficult decision at all. Because I don't believe any amount of revenue is worth putting that type of stress on our team, and we were in a no-win situation, so it felt good to say no.
[00:09:27] And so when you can identify what you have to lose by taking on bad business, it makes it a no-brainer when you cut bait. So no, it wasn't hard to lose that revenue because we would've lost far more by keeping them. So sometimes it takes courage to make these decisions, but I will tell you, having that framework nailed down ahead of the decision is what good business versus bad business really provides... great clarity.
[00:09:55] So as we wrap up today, I encourage you to meet as a team, identify what a [00:10:00] go and what a no-go customer should look like for your organization. There's no right or wrong, that's something you have to decide as a company, but go deep. Don't just identify the surface qualities and then make sure every single person in your company knows this framework.
[00:10:15] It's the best way to hold you all accountable, and it'll save yourself the heartache down the road when bad-fit-clients sneak through. So that's it for today. I encourage all of you to have the courage to make these decisions. Take the time to build the framework. If you like what you hear, hit subscribe and be sure to reach out with any questions or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.