B2B Lesson: Learning To Turn Away Potential Clients

March 13, 2015By
Startup Marketing

It might be time to turn away clients at GBW.

The way Ghost Blog Writers work is that we’re setup to be a partner with other businesses for the long-term. Blogging is a long-term online marketing strategy.

It works a little like compounding interest. You start with nothing, but continually invest and add content to your site and over time the traffic starts to come in and then you start seeing a little more and a little more and then it can really pick up.

And that’s just organic search traffic. You can pick up some good traffic through social media and email marketing, but consistency can take time.

So we’re looking for businesses that are looking at blogging as a long-term strategy. When those haven’t been the expectations things haven’t worked out.

And I look at that as being my fault.

Growing A Startup Business

For GBW, when we’ve been in growth mode the idea has been to bring on anybody and everybody that inquires about the blogging service. I guess that’s kind of the way things go. You need to bring in sales to make a living, but you also go through the pains of not being able to do everything for everybody. And if you attempt to you can go crazy.

But now we’re five years in and I’ve gotten better at figuring out who the best clients are for GBW. I try to turn away the ones I feel won’t work out in the long run, but it’s still difficult.

I read the books Good To Great and Great By Choice. I can’t remember which one the story was in, but it was about Southwest Airlines and how they limited their growth on purchase. They had the opportunity to add something like 100+ airports one year and they only added 4. They knew that they could only add ones that were the best fit. It was the best long-term strategy.

I need to get back on that trajectory for GBW. Here is a little plan I have laid out.

Improved Content On The Website

I’m going to tweak the content on the website to better qualify leads. I’ll add more language discussing the long-term nature of blogging. I’ll share the best case studies of our best clients so new potential clients can see the work we’re best at.

And when things get to the discussion stage I’ll ask more questions to learn about the client and to see if we’re a good fit before we even begin the relationship.

I have to say it’s for our own benefit at GBW, I think it’s also for the benefit of our potential clients. People don’t want to waste time seeing if we’re a good fit especially when we know pretty well up front that it won’t work in the long run.

Final Thought

It’s hard to think about turning away clients as a growing startup business, but it seems that’s a trait the best businesses have. They limit their growth in the short-term so they can be the best company possible. It seems to lead to slower, but likely more growth in the long-term.

When we’re working with our best clients we can do the best work most efficiently. In time that opens us up for more opportunities.

So that’s the lesson for today. I’ll work to make it happen for GBW and I’m sure it can work for your startup as well.