On this blog, we spend most of our time talking about how to find and attract customers.

This week, we’re going to spend a few moments considering the customers we’d rather NOT attract.


Get out a piece of paper and write down three to five customers you could most easily live without.

You’re probably grinning while you’re doing this, (and perhaps should burn the list before you leave the office today)  but it’s really a worthwhile exercise consider this list, and determine what these customers have in common:

  • They may be a poor fit for your business model.
  • They may be asking you to make a lot of special modifications that your other customers don’t require.
  • They may need an unusual amount of training or customer service.
  • They may be grouchy, obnoxious or just plain unpleasant to deal with.
  • They may spend a lot of time negotiating a “better deal,” trying to get something for nothing.

For whatever reason, whether through fault of their own,  or just a because of a mismatch of business models or expectations, many of us find ourselves spending an inordinate amount of time trying to keep these people satisfied.

What role should your marketing play in DIScouraging customers that are not a good fit?

We had a discussion with other marketing companies at Infusionsoft University about this topic.  They called them “churners” and (rather accurately but uncharitably)  “leeches.”

It can be worth it to “fire” customers occasionally, but from a marketing perspective it’s best not to attract them in the first place.

You’ve probably already done the work of profiling your ideal customer, and you’ve carefully positioned your marketing to attract that person. Now take a moment and think of any sales and marketing messages designed to signal “churners and leeches need not apply.”

  • We tell people in our first conversations that “we are not the least expensive option for marketing. This discourages those who would rather get nine-dollar-a-month paint-by-numbers do-it-yourself website. That’s not our target market.
  • We also let people know that working with us will require a time commitment on their part, to ensure our efforts remain in sync with changing market dynamics and corporate direction, and to review drafts.
  • We tell people there is no “easy button.”   Great results require effort.

As a result, we lose a few prospects.

But typically, those are ones worth losing.

As a result, we have more time, energy, and enthusiasm for clients who ARE a great fit for our business model.

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