A company’s mission statement should influence every move it makes, including what clients or customers it takes on. Serving clients who don’t align with your mission statement might bring in more money, but it often can hurt your company more than you would expect. In the long run, it’s more profitable to work with like-minded people.
Disadvantages of working with incompatible clients
When you and your clients disagree fundamentally on unbendable rules, the relationship is tainted and unsustainable.
Incompatible clients also hurt company morale. Employees won’t enjoy working for a client they don’t think shares their values. Rather than sacrificing talent to keep the client happy, fire bad clients to boost morale. Doing so will earn your employees’ trust, loyalty and respect.
Advantages of working with like-minded clients
People often care more about what businesses stand for than businesses themselves. Therefore, customer loyalty grows when a business reflects the values of its customers. For example, people are fiercely loyal to the Harley-Davidson brand because they identify with its rebel spirit. That bond helps the company separate itself from its competition.
When clients reflect the company’s mission statement, the process of determining how to work together is easier. Both business and client will be supportive of each other’s successes, and when there is conflict, both can turn to shared values in a mission statement to find a resolution.
Compatible clients also lead to more referrals. Clients are more likely to refer friends to businesses that share their values.
How to determine client compatibility
Businesses should vet potential clients with their mission statements in mind. One agency I work with uses its mission statement when creating interview questions for clients, customers and vendors. The leaders of that business make it clear that they work only with clients who share their beliefs. As a result, their win ratio has risen 40%, and they have created a buzz in their areas of influence that is resulting in more opportunities.
Here are some other ways to test whether a client aligns with your mission statement.
- Share your mission statement and ask clients for three examples of how they have relied on similar values to make business decisions.
- Create some business scenarios for clients to resolve. Determine whether their answers are consistent with your mission statement.
- Ask clients how their mission statements guide their business decisions and look for conflicts between their answers and your values.
- Poll clients’ employees about their companies’ mission statements and how they see them in effect. If employees don’t know their mission statements and can’t connect them to their companies’ actions, the values represented in those statements aren’t truly important to them.
Clients likes to work with businesses that take their values and beliefs seriously. When you impress this reality upon your current clients and seek to find new clients that fit your mission statement, you are setting yourself up for strong, long-lasting relationships.
For nearly 30 years, Drew McLellan has been in the advertising industry. For 20 of those years, he has owned and run an agency. Additionally, McLellan leads the Agency Management Institute, which advises hundreds of advertising agencies on how to grow and build their profitability.
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