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How many times have you heard a customer say to you “I hope you are making a good profit out of our work”? Probably, never. Possibly, once.
It’s our business to make sure that we make a profit. If we don’t, we will not exist for long. Whilst running a profitable business is important, it also important to work with clients that trust you
A good customer/supplier relationship relies on the supplier providing a good product or service and a feeling of trust being built between the customer and the supplier. I hope you haven’t stopped reading yet as what I have just said so far is remarkably obvious and you might be feeling that it is time to read something else that is more challenging.
But, wait a minute. Is this what happens in the real world? Aren’t many businesses focused on grabbing what work they can and then seeing if they can make a profit and hope that on the way they can build a good customer/supplier relationship? The reason that unsuitable work is grabbed is because of the fear of not being able to find more suitable work. That’s not a reason to have a business relationship, in my view.
Looking back, I would freely admit that when I first set up in business over 30 years ago, my focus was getting in enough business. I should have known when I would gleefully tell staff about a new project I had won and wonder why they looked less enthused than me. They knew it was hard work for not much money and a poor fit for our skills; I was just delighted to win the business.
It wasn’t just about hard work or not enough money. The work was not a good fit for my team. I was sometimes selling services that we were not particularly suited to. It’s being like asking me to paint your house. I could do it, but I would be slow, I would do it badly and you would have to put up with my moaning. I would not be a good fit. And, more to the point, you wouldn’t ask me again.
I’ve learnt – the hard way, I might add – that it’s important for MRDC Software to supply services that it is good at and software that is suitable for the prospective client. Having the wrong client is as bad for me as it is for the client – a lose lose situation, you might call it. Why waste time trying to appease a client who will eventually work out that you are the wrong supplier?
Isn’t it just better to say “We are not the right fit. Try, XYZ company”? At least, if that client does require the right product or service for your company in the future, they will be able to trust you.
By saying “no”, I substantially reduce the risk of getting a bad reputation. I increase the percentage of customers that will bring repeat business or renew software licences. We will get a reputation for being a good fit for what we do. This is what I want to achieve and most business owners want to achieve. We could put meaningless claims on our website like “going the extra mile”, “providing quality at a competitive price”, “having software that does everything”, but, in my experience, customers just want a good fit. A good fit is a company that is “on their wavelength” and is good at providing the product or service they want. Yes, price is important, but being a good fit brings real value.
You are probably wondering why I have felt the need for this blog article. It does sound like a bit of a rant in places. I want to work in an industry that can be trusted – that’s good for me. I want to run a company that can be trusted – that’s important to me. And, I want to make a profit. In my view, the best way to make that profit is to have clients that suit the company and the products and services we supply.
If it’s a service, we like to be clear about what service you want and your expectations. We can then tell you what it will cost, how long it will take and detail any risk factors that might damage our partnership. Putting effort into risk factors, pain points, potential difficulties, call them what you will, at the outset has two big benefits. Firstly, everyone gets more focused on the realities of completing the project well. Secondly, expectations are realistic. Extra care and effort can then be applied where necessary.
With software, understanding what a customer wants to achieve from the software is Important, but also knowing about the people who are going to use the software is equally important. We have openly produced blog articles that explain why using MRDCL will be a steep learning curve for many people. Yes, there are some huge productivity gains to be won, but there is some pain to attain them. This might make MRDCL the right or the wrong product. Other products, such as Snap, are easier to use for most tasks whereas some things will need time, training and patience.
I think it’s time to sign off from this article. We are delighted to hear about any products or services we have that you feel may help your company. At an early stage, we will be checking that you are a good fit for us. You will be doing the same to us. If it looks good for both of us, we will hopefully do business. We will make a profit and you will get a great service or a great product. Find out more. If you ask, we will answer.
Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your thoughts. Do you agree?