by Sara Marie Brenner
If you own your own business or are in sales for another company, you’re always looking to bring in new prospects and do business with those people. Your new clients can become your friends, your life-long advocates, your cheering section, and your inspiration if you bring in the right ones. They come through your red velvet rope and join your circle of the people with whom you communicate and interact the most. But, bring in the ones who aggravate you, suck the life out of your enthusiasm or take advantage of your kindness and you’re headed for your own feelings of frustration and being overwhelmed.
I have had clients in the past who took the wind completely out of my sails. In a former business that I owned, I had a client who wanted me to come to her home to be with her and my employee who was helping her and her family. She simply wanted to be able to say she was working with the owner, but she didn’t want me as the primary facilitator (she was working with my employee). Instead, she just wanted me there to observe and let her know if there was anything they could be doing differently. Of course, I couldn’t charge for my time for this either because she had her facilitator. You see, I didn’t travel to homes in that business, and she knew it — I had made it very clear. I had offered for her to come to me and she didn’t want to do it. But, in order to earn her business, she told me that I had to come to her and be a part of the conversation because they had heard so many wonderful things about me. Because I was building the business and wanted the client’s revenue, I caved and took the client. It (she) made me miserable, and eventually it ended up harming the relationship anyhow because I had to reclaim my independence (and sanity!). It offended her, she left my business and I know she told several people that I was difficult to work with because I wouldn’t do something that wasn’t working for me. In that business I was primarily the manager, so all I was thinking about while I was at her home watching her interactions with my employee was everything I had to be doing back in my office. Of course, I could have changed my mind set, but most importantly — I should never have caved in to her demands.
I started my first business at 12 years old and have taken on some clients in my life with whom I did not really want to work. I wasn’t interested in them as people, I just wanted — or needed — their revenue. Again, it can’t be about that. When you just look at someone for the dollar signs that accompany the close of the sale you aren’t allowing yourself to do your best work for them. It isn’t fair to them, and it isn’t fair to you. You suffer, they suffer and everyone ends up miserable in the end. Additionally, the situation will never end well when you’re working with clients with whom you never wanted to work.
The problem was that I wanted her revenue. When you bring on a new client for their revenue instead of the relationship, the challenge, the ability to serve them, the possibility for a lasting partnership or the ability to really make a difference in their lives, at some points you’re going to end up being miserable. Having what Michael Port, author of Book Yourself Solid, calls the “red velvet rope policy” is crucial to finding, selecting, keeping and growing with the clients with whom you want to work. You must create this red velvet rope policy for yourself, regardless of what business you’re in. You must work with clients with whom you can do your best work. Once you know who those people are, you know — and they will know — that you have allowed them in to your inner circle, past your red velvet rope, and that they’re not going to be able to receive your best work because you are able to give them your very best work.
Consider these questions:
- What kind of people really turn you off? What are their characteristics, and how do they make you feel emotionally and spiritually? These are the kinds of people who should not be getting in to your inner circle or past your red velvet rope. Chances are very likely that you have a few clients (or more) who fit the characteristics from the question above.
- What if your mind and spirit were free of them, and all of the strife that accompanied having to work with them on a regular basis? Would you be more open and flexible to be able to add other people to your clientele for whom you could do your very best work and see your best results in action? List 5-10 clients, or more, whom you should eliminate from your client list immediately if you removed people from your list based on the characteristics in the first question. You may not be mentally to the place where you can dump those clients yet, but at least you’ve identified them.
- What are the characteristics of the clients for whom you can do your best work right now? When we work with people we enjoy, we do our best work — whatever it is. Our finished product is always a little better. Our heart is in it more, our mind is more in tune, we’re building friendships and relationships for life, and we are clued in to the client’s needs so that we can give back to them and help them achieve abundance.
The characteristics you just mentioned in number three are very likely what you should include in your red velvet rope policy.
Now of course, creating a red velvet rope policy is something that I help clients create over the course of a few coaching sessions, so I don’t anticipate that you will know exactly what it is right this instant. However, hopefully this has given you the opportunity to actually think about this, and consider release yourself — and the clients — from the aggravation, frustration, withholding and negativity that goes along with working with client you don’t really want to have in your circle.
My “red velvet rope policy” is listed right on my website here. No secrets, no guessing, no hiding. I ask there for someone to contact me if they meet at least half of those expectations. From there, I can weed out the ones with whom I want to work and those whom I believe would achieve more abundance with someone else. Not everyone is meant for me, and I’m not meant for everyone. It has taken me two decades of business to recognize that, and the clarity, exuberance and happiness that comes with working with people who excite and engage me is so uplifting there are no words to describe it! And, as a result, I’m more focused on my business and on giving those clients everything they need, and my business is growing very quickly as I implement these strategies in my own life.
You truly can experience peace and abundance simultaneously. Just develop a red velvet rope policy that allows you to function at your best and your clients and you will reap the rewards.
Sara Marie Brenner is Your Digital Marketing & Online Communications Expert specializing in social media, website development and online marketing. She also coaches people to book themselves solid. Her website is www.EngageStrategies.net, and you may email firstname.lastname@example.org. Sara Marie invites you to join her Tuesdays at 2pm ET for her “Tuesdays @ 2” free webinar series. Just visit EngageStrategies.net/Tuesdays for details and to register.
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