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Cold Stone MBA: Client Selection First

February 22, 2013

You can spot them as soon as they walk in the door:  a complaint ready to happen.

How you can make ice cream an unpleasant buying experience is a mystery to me, especially when you have a server who truly wants to please you.

But it happens.  And you know immediately when you face this customer.  You ask if they would like to sample your made fresh daily, top quality ice cream, and they start complaining about the prices.  You offer to custom create whatever they want, and they start making unresonable requests, like a kid’s scoop with 5 flavors of ice cream in it.  They are generally nasty in their interaction and scowl as they leave with a treat that is probably completely over sized and under priced, because all you wanted to do was get them out of your store.

We deal with this in providing professional services too:  that client that will never be happy, makes our life hell, and completely erodes our profitability because we do anything to complete the job.

The difference is this:  at Cold Stone, we generally have to serve whoever walks in our door; in our firms, we can select who we serve.  That’s pretty cool, but we often don’t leverage this as much as we should.  Too often, we become enamored with potential revenue, and overlook the warning signs of a problem waiting to happen.  We can feel it coming, but we keep going.  (I am betting that everyone who reads this has a client that pops into their minds right now.)

We need to be true to our client selection!  Who understands the value we provide?  Who will pay us for that value?  Who is collaborative and as determined as we are to produce a quality project?  Who will give our employees meaningful work, without giving them an ulcer in the meantime?  Who is ready to commit to a long term partnership without making us “bid” for every scrap of work?

If we make client selection our first priority, our project work will be much more rewarding – professionally and financially.

One Comment
  1. Great article Leslie!

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