Customer Qualification and Having the Right Haters

sticker that says I Heart Haters
Image by Pat Pilon / CC BY

“You shouldn’t care what people think of you,” a close friend used to say to me.

I didn’t agree then, and I still don’t.

While being a people pleaser can be the road to ruin, I also think it’s possible to take things too far in the other direction. The hands-down most despicable people I know don’t care what anyone thinks of them. Furthermore, social referencing is an integral part of healthy interdependence.

However, it’s important to be selective. Just like you wouldn’t judge your beauty in a cracked mirror, you shouldn’t let just any old jackass determine whether what you’re doing is right or wrong.

If you’re not pissing someone off, you probably aren’t doing anything important.

Plus, it might just be a good thing to be disliked by certain people, people whose core values are in direct conflict with your own and can see no compromise. For one, it saves you the time and effort of placating them and assuaging their discontent.

It works for business folks. And the good thing about business? It is all about learning how to be intelligent about trade-offs, which makes a lot of its principles handy for when things aren’t so clearcut.

As Josh Kaufman writes on customer qualification:

Qualification is the process of determining whether or not a prospect is a good customer before they purchase from you.

Qualification helps to avoid wasting time and energy on customers that aren’t a good fit.

Not every customer is a good customer. Customers that require more than what they are worth, aren’t worth attracting in the first place.

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Customer qualification involves identifying 2 basic  things:

  1. What traits would automatically disqualify customers, i.e., dealbreakers.
  2. What traits the ideal customer would have.

Prospective customers are then compared against this basic pros and cons list and evaluated for how much they meet or do not meet these requirements.

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It used to drive me insane when someone didn’t like me or expressed harsh judgement of decisions that meant the world to me. Now I take stock of the situation when it happens. I look at the source and how they are living their life:

  • Are they happy where they are?
  • Are they making good decisions?
  • Do they generally bring value to other people?

If the answer to these 3 questions is “no,” then I take their disapproval as a neutral or even positive sign.

Sometimes having the right haters is the surest sign that you’re on the right path.

 

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