Trimming your client list for growth
Q: What is the ONE thing scarier than working on your first client?
A: Getting rid of your first client.
I’m not talking about a big messy breakup – that’s another post entirely.
Nope, I’m talking about trimming clients off your list who have not shown you any love lately.
When you have a trimmed list – a book of people that you are eager to serve and who want what you’re providing – you are positioned to grow and earn more income. Oh yeah, and the confidence in knowing you’ve got “your” people – which is an a.ma.zing feeling.
Few things in nature can grow or thrive under dead weight.
Roses don’t fully bloom unless they’re pruned.
Skin doesn’t glow unless it’s exfoliated
Hair is rarely healthy unless it gets trimmed regularly.
Your client list is the same.
It needs to be revisited and trimmed regularly. So that you have the room, resources, and knowledge to grow.
So how do you do it? How do you cut out the dead weight so you can thrive (and give your clients what they want)?
Who is on your client list?
Go through your entire book and write down the names of all the clients you have served in the last XX months. These are your “Active” clients. (Use the guidelines below to determine your “XX” months).
Here are some guidelines:
- If you’ve been in business for 12 months or less, write down all of your clients.
- If you’ve been in business for up to 2 years, write down 12-18 months worth of clients (every single one).
- If you are very experienced and rarely have large gaps in your schedule, list the last 6-9 months of clients.
Segment your client list
Go through your active clients, and put a star next to the clients you really like, a circle next to the clients you don’t quite recall, and an X next to anyone that you really hate working on – even if they bring in a lot of income (don’t worry, you’re not getting rid of them…yet).
Next, put all your starred clients on a list and write down how many times you’ve seen them in the last XX months. Place them in descending order, from the most visits during that time period to the least. These are your high-value clients – the people you’ll want to make the most effort with during the next step.
Be what they want
The reason for trimming your client list is to improve growth.
Income growth, client growth, and professional growth.
There is no point in asking if you are not prepared to give them what they want.
Pay attention to even the slightest suggestion and see if it is something you can help them with. If not, find a resource for them.
Few if any will expect you to give them exactly what they want – they just might want to be heard.
Reach out to your client list (strategically)
The only effective way to trim your client list is to know what your client wants and if you can provide it…and the only way to know that for sure is to ask them.
Based on how you segmented them above, you’ll need to reach out to each group with a slightly different strategy.
You are going to send them a note (snail mail) thanking them for being a client and asking them what you can do for them during future visits. Give them an email address that they can respond to. When/if they do, be sure to respond by saying what a great idea they had, and then be prepared to give them that during a future visit.
Come up with a reason for them to come in and see you. Offer a discounted service, an add-on, or even an event to invite them to. You can can call them, email, or snail mail (whichever fits your time span and/or budget); just be sure to thank them for being a client.
Also, give them the opportunity “trim” you. Let them know that if they are no longer interested in your services that it’s ok, and ask them to send you an email to remove them from your contact list. I know it’s scary to do this, but your business will improve so much when you get clear on who is interested in what you’re doing.
X clients or old clients
Any clients that you have not seen at all in XX months or clients who are toxic should be considered dead weight.
For those that you just haven’t seen in a long time, you could reach out and ask them if there is a way you could regain their business.
For those that you X-d, don’t bother contacting. Seriously.
Your creativity is affected by your emotions. If you are working on someone that you can’t stand, don’t encourage the relationship by reaching out. Just let it go or break up with them.
If you do reach out to old clients and they respond, determine whether they are a star or a circle, and then continue as such.
Have you ever trimmed your client list?
If so, how did you do it?