January 28, 2022

Do Your Clients Have a Pecking Order?

This is such a juicy topic…Do your clients have a pecking order? You know what I mean…Do you pick up the phone with more urgency when a “special” client calls, or do certain clients get preferential treatment over others? Hmmm…very good question indeed.

I had a meeting last week with a biz owner…someone who is quite successful, and she commented to me about a situation. You see, she had hired a web designer for a project about two years ago. At that time, she was in the middle of a transition, and she was doing fairly well but not well enough to write home to the family about her business.

She hired a web designer to help her through her transition. The designer did a great job for her, and she became a walking billboard for his business. As time moved along, the designer began to get more clients (because of her testimonials) and obviously more “important” clients, because this designer began to promote the “more important” clients over her to the public. Hmmm…interesting that she picked up on that.

You see…this biz owner is someone who thought her web designer was a true partner…someone who would stand by her and support her, because she was a first client. But, as time went on, she became like a puppy who then became an old dog…the shine was gone. She was that first client, but now, she was someone who no longer had the pull of the “more important clients” for the designer. She no longer was famous enough for him. Such a shame (in my opinion, because I know this person and her ability to send thousands of people his way.)

I was raised by parents who always taught me “Dance with the one who brought you.” As you may know, this phrase (probably southern) suggests that we need to always remember the people who helped us get where we are. They are the seeds that we plant early on, and they are (in my opinion), the most important people in our business. They help us plant seeds that yield incredible fruits of our labors (more clients, more connections.) My adivce is…take care of those people, thank them and never forget that they helped you get where you are today. If you forget it, your business will take a big hit. It always does.

If this situation is true for you, I have a few suggestions on the topic:

1) When you make announcements about your clients, do it in alphabetical order. You may be saying “Well, I want John Smith to be first on the list, because he has more credibility.” That is bullshit!. By ordering your clients according to who you think is most important, you send a loud and clear message to your other clients: You are not as important! (I also want to remind everyone that money often buys prestige, position and power, so the person who you think is “so important” may have bought their way to success, which then diminishes the efforts of your clients who are working their way up through hard work, sweat and tears.) By listing your clients in alphabetical order, you take the “preferred client” scenario out of the equation, and you put everyone on a level playing field. If you are ordering your clients according to power, position and prestige, you are essentially “playing favorites.”

2) Each time a client does ANYTHING for your business, thank them over and over again. Your clients can never hear gratitudes enough.

3) On just one occasion, take the client who you “think” is your least influential, and move that person to a prime position. Give that client an MVP award or some type of award of distinction. You will be rewarded forever for that one effort.

4) Each time you decide to move a client to the bottom of your list, stop to consider his or her network and his/her ability to get out and talk up your company. You may be making the mistake of a lifetime by moving this person to the bottom of your “pecking order.”.

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