What if I told you that your absolute best word of mouth customers will often be people who don’t actually need you, and can already do fine for themselves.
Stop for a moment and think of your six best customers.
They will probably be the ones you enjoy dealing with the most, and the ones that are most profitable for you.
Got that list?
How many people on that list have got enough skills that they could almost do your job themselves?
Often they will be a jack-of-all-trades where you are the expert for one part of what they can already do.
This was highlighted for me by a guy called Jeff Walker, who is famous in internet marketing circles as the one responsible for some of THE biggest product launches ever online. He often deals with big businesses, but as a marketing consultant he is running a small business of his own, and I asked him how he screened his new clients.
In his list of criteria he included this one…
- Could they do it themselves? This may surprise… but I
think the best client is someone with strong marketing
skills that could actually do a launch for themselves… but
they know that if they bring me in then 1) they don’t have
to do it, and 2) they will gain a little extra advantage.
Here’s a really important additional fact however that absolutely applies to Jeff.
People that can do without you are also GREAT word of mouth customers!
Firstly, their expertise means that their opinion of you is much more informed. When they refer others to you they will also explain why they are recommending you ahead of anyone else.
Secondly, they already have the mentality of outsourcing to experts rather than doing it themselves.
You’ve perhaps come across the customers who have their own expertise, and who ignore your ideas. These customers haven’t realized that a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing. They won’t let go enough for you to do your best job.
What you really need are customers who understand the skill involved in what you are doing AND who are willing to hand responsibility over to you. They are trusting you with their own situation, and they will encourage others who are trying to DIY it to come to you instead.
There is a third benefit, and that is one that I use in my counseling practice. Having clients who have some expertise already will position you as the expert’s expert.
Imagine being THE person people that people in your profession go to when they are in trouble or need a bit of extra help.
So rather than find any old customer, how about taking another look at all those people who are managing things for themselves at the moment. Could you become a hairdresser to the hairdressers, and therapist to the therapists, a coach for other coaches, a sales trainer for other sales reps? Are you good enough to do this, and are you specifically targeting such people as customers?
Remember that you don’t need to attract lots of such people, because the ones you do can be some of your best word of mouth customers.
Jeff’s booked solid, and has to knock opportunities back. Isn’t that the position you want to find yourself in?