I have news for you: if you’re in sales, you are a teacher and your customers are your classroom. While there are many ways one can interpret that statement, let me clarify what I mean and I think you’ll agree.
As salespeople a lot of times we have a group of varied group of customers. They run the gamut—and in many ways they’re like a classroom of children with us having to sit at the head of the classroom as the teacher.
You have your A students (customers): they play by the rules, they support you, they’re the best of the best and you always wish you had more like them.
You have your B students (customers): they aren’t perhaps as big as the A’s, but they’re great. They pay their bills on time, generally are easily satisfied and can be depended on to understand if a mistake is made.
Then, you have your C students: they try to be good customers. They do all the can, but they just don’t have the buying power or perhaps the size of your A and B students (customers). They may require a little more time, but they tend to be the kind you want to help.
Finally, you have the D and F students (customers): these are the ones who are always causing problems. You chase them for money. They’re trying to game the system, complaining about the least little thing and wanting you to give them the world. They fight over pennies and are never satisfied.
Here’s the problem: we tend to spend all our time with the wrong students! You’re days are spent with the D and F crowd, trying in vain to make them happy or collect or whatever and we end up ignoring our A’s and B’s.
And, who do you think your competition is calling on?
They darn sure don’t want your F students!
So, it’s time you started grading customers. Who are the A’s? Who are the B’s? Spend your time with them and if you have to, fire the D and F customers and let them bog down your competitor. Let them cause havoc in their “classroom. You’ll be much saner and able to spend much more time with the customers who deserve your time and attention.
This will allow you to bring those B and C customers along, as well. This is truly the 80/20 rule alive and well.
Stop letting that 20% in the “back of the room” take up 80% of your time and cause 80% of your heartburn and headaches. You can grow your business quicker and easier without them.