The Two Most Important Business Decisions You’ll Ever Make
KENNESAW, Ga. (Aug 14, 2017) — Way back when, long ago, John and Steve were new executives at a large and well- known and highly respected contract services management firm. They happened to be in the offices one day, when a team of operators, who had just had a contract terminated, were arriving to meet with executives and other staff to debrief and to plan for the closing. They were stunned to witness their attitude – happy, light, and celebratory! The polar opposite of what they would have expected.
Not only did they seem to be OK with this loss – they seemed actually to be relieved and perfectly OK with it. As they learned later, the client was perceived to be an “ogre”, we weren’t making our numbers there, we were burning through people we assigned to the account, the location was difficult to service and – at the end of the day - they really just didn’t appreciate what we were doing for them. “Thank goodness they finally fired us! Now we can devote our time and energy to a client who values us!”
We realized that day, that if the loss of a client was ever a cause for celebration, then we probably should never have been doing business there in the first place – or that the terms of the deal were so badly corrupted - or that things or people had changed so much, that there was no “win – win” to be had.
Right Clients / Right Terms® is the solution. Senior management must define, and then consistently enforce, the specific parameters around acquisition strategy that both guides and restricts the sales department to a class of potential clients where value can be created and sustained. Left to their own devices, almost every sales department will gladly welcome any client, under any conditions, that will walk through the front door. That’s a recipe for disaster. Simply stated, sales must not be permitted to define the strategic direction of the company.
At the Tenacity Center, we have learned, that only doing business with the right clients under the right terms will almost always cut existing rates of attrition by half. Closing the front door on non-aligned business is the critical first step. You can work through the rest of the portfolio later - at a measured pace.
Great people (who you hire) and great clients (who you choose to do business with) are the two most important business decisions most businesses will ever make. Make them well and success is essentially assured. Make them cavalierly or poorly, and conducting business will be miserable (and probably short-term too).
Steve, John and Gary