bad client dragging you downWe’ve all worked with bad clients. They nickel-and-dime you, and then expect you to deliver additional services quickly and at no charge. They challenge your expertise and question you on every move. They drain your company’s resources and energy until your team considers mutiny, only they’re too exhausted, frustrated, and demoralized to follow through with it.

I call these PITA clients, because they’re a “pain in the a**”!

Then there’s the opposite—our ideal clients. These people value what we offer, communicate well, are forward-thinking and reasonable, and have a good sense of humor. They give the time, money, and resources needed to make business projects successful. When we work with them, our sales time collapses, productivity soars, and deals are larger. They also help us get referrals to others like themselves.

Fire Your PITA Clients NOW

Working with PITA clients isn’t just unpleasant; it’s an opportunity cost. PITA clients push you to do more for less and squeeze your profit margins. Once you say yes, you’ve locked yourself into a downward spiral. It’s like one of those rides at Disneyland where you go round and round until you think you will either lose what’s in your stomach or your head will spin off, and you really don’t care which happens first.

Worst of all, PITA clients waste time, energy, and creativity that would be better spent serving your ideal clients. So why are companies still taking on PITAs, and how can sales leaders stop the madness?

Can’t Kick Them Out? Then Don’t Let Them In

Unfortunately, in most companies, the power to fire clients is reserved for the top brass. Likewise, in most sales organizations, reps don’t get to say no to business. But with the right prospecting strategy, sales leaders can help their teams get only ideal clients into the sales pipeline.

Like attracts like. PITAs hang out with other PITAs. But the fantastic clients you love to serve probably know other people just like themselves. Simply put: When we get referrals from ideal clients, we get introduced to ideal clients.

Want to weed out the clients who are draining resources and energy? Here’s where to start:

  1. Create a crisp profile of your ideal clients. This way, you recognize perfect opportunities when they arise and can help your referral sources make great connections for you. Consider the ideal industries, job titles, and locations of the prospects you most want to meet. Also stress the ideal personality traits, and the typical situation or need your company addresses.
  1. Ensure everyone in your organization focuses on attracting only Ideal Clients. If you’re a sales leader, empower your team to recognize PITA prospects and to get rid of them before they ever get into the pipeline. No questions asked.
  1. Ask your current ideal clients for referrals. When you implement a rigorous referral program, you continue to attract only ideal clients to your company.

With referral selling, your sales processes collapses; you earn trust and credibility immediately; your competition disappears; and you convert prospects into clients well more than 50 percent of the time. No other sales or marketing strategy comes close to these results.

You have a choice about the kind of clients you attract. Make the right one!

joanne-black.jpgJoanne Black is America’s leading authority on referral selling—the only business-development strategy proven to convert prospects into clients more than 50 percent of the time. She is a member of the National Speakers Association and author of NO MORE COLD CALLING™: The Breakthrough System That Will Leave Your Competition in the Dust and Pick Up the Damn Phone!: How People, Not Technology, Seal the Deal. To learn more, visit www.NoMoreColdCalling.com. You can also follow Joanne on Google+ or Twitter @ReferralSales, or connect on LinkedIn and Facebook.