Who you won’t work with says as much about your personal brand as who you will work with. What are your business non-negotiables? Attracting the right clients and repelling the wrong ones is of equal importance to build and sustain a business.
Are there industries that you will never work with? Are there people or cultures that are the antitheses of your values, preferences, style or moral compass? Is putting people before profit important? Are there aspects of work that you don’t enjoy or do well? Is your business motivator purely financial or more diverse? Would you turn a blind eye to corruption, bribery or untoward practices?
All these questions are a component of your personal brand values and non-negotiables. Once you infuse what you will and will not accept, your sales confidence strengthens and communicating your brand essence becomes easier. And you will attract more of the right clients in the process, and repel the wrong ones by virtue of clever wordsmith and market positioning strategies.
Your business and personal moral compass will be one of your greatest brand assets to attract and repel. But holding nerve takes courage to say no thanks. Many service businesses and consultants don’t have a clear focus on ideal industry niches but on the type of person. It’s often a ‘personality style’ ie: flexible, not a penny pincher, honest, wants to grow etc. It’s worth exploring the full mosaic of all five niches: Personality – Culture – Industry – Work – Revenue
And whilst that is a small part of the puzzle for personal and business branding, it’s just the beginning. You need to dig further and go deeper around the type of clients you wish to repel. And the best place to start is around your non-negotiables.
But the challenge for many businesses and consultants (esp. those starting out in business) is they will accept anyone and anything for $$. And it often bites them in the behind down the track in many ways despite variable tolerance levels.
Getting really clear and communicating your non-negotiables elegantly to repel the wrong clients and attract more of the ideal will save you time, angst and raise your energy levels no end.
Four tips to repel the wrong clients (and attract the right ones)
1. Get crystal clear with who you are. Communicate your real personal brand and vibe. Hold your nerve and be clear and engaging.
2. Write up avatar lists of clients you don’t want to attract. Get really granular and describe them clearly – industry, personality, values, methods etc and see clear patterns emerge.
3. Communicate powerfully on your website and LinkedIn a positive statement of who you work best with i.e.: “I deliver the best results for clients who have an understanding of IT and are willing to commit to 12 months for their R&D teams “ OR (as on my website) “I work with clients have a great sense of discovery, an open mind and a desire to review, try and do things differently. They are brave, have integrity and care equally about people and profits” Both examples whilst interpretative will self-select prospects to and away from you.
4. Be direct vs elusive – time is money. Clear communications is essential You could also add qualifiers to services, ie.: “Will suit xyz..’ I’ve seen a few businesses go as far as list ‘Won’t Suit xyz…” I’m not sure if that is always a great idea but can work (based on many variables).
Remember…your vibe attracts your tribe.
Sue Parker, Founder, DARE Group Australia