There are some schools of business thought that advocate an elitist, discerning approach to providing products or services to customers. They urge you to create a red carpet / velvet rope kind of mechanisms in your marketing, in order to separate and focus on well-paying deep-pocket customers.
It’s a strategy I would recommend only if your main goal in business is to make money, or if you’re just starting up and need to stabilize financially. I’m not a big fan of it, to be honest, because it’s a short-term strategy and it does nothing for your development as a human being.
Recently a client of mine asked me for advice on whether he should cater to healthy choice-focused customers or give in to a less discerning but better paying ‘all-time favourites’ crowd. I said that there was a third choice where he could focus on giving every customer exactly what they want.
Yes, that means more work and poorer return on effort and you should not engage this strategy until you’re financially stable, but it is ultimately where you want your business to end up.
It never made sense to me to say ‘no’ to a potential customer. Even if you’re not in a position to fulfil the customer’s need at this time, find other ways of doing it. When I was running a café, a long time ago, I used to buy sushi from another shop and sell it to my customers at cost, making no profit at all.
Customers’ good will is a commodity and you should continuously cultivate it, if you’re in business for the long haul.
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