A British Friend of mine sent me a note today.
“Happy Treason Day”
I chuckled to myself. A lot has occurred in my life over the last twelve months.
I came to a moment of reckoning last year.
I realized that I had become comfortable. I had achieved a life way beyond my dreams.
And yet amidst my relishing in the abundant life, I had created, I realized something was not quite right.
I realized in my pursuit of a good life, I was letting an amazing life pass me by. I realized there was a greater good for me to accomplish.
As I reviewed my situation, I knew if I kept my current business as is, I would work another twenty years and amass enough savings to live out a comfortable retirement.
I remember saying to myself last September.
“Damon, you’re being selfish. You have a message that people need to hear. You need to put your message out there.”
And that’s when I determined I would reinvent myself. I would give up a good life to achieve a great life.
To achieve a great life, I knew I would need to push myself out of my comfort zone.
I knew I would need to become comfortable with being uncomfortable.
I would need to face my fears and become a better communicator.
I would need to change my business. To change my business, I would need to change myself.
The business is always limited based on the owner, and I had allowed my complacency to put a glass ceiling on my growth.
I’ve often heard that if you’re not growing, you’re dying.
I looked in the mirror and realized I was dying.
I started to look at some of my clients, and they were miserable business people. They were constantly spending more money than they were earning. They couldn’t pay themselves.
I watched as one of my business clients declared bankruptcy.
I tried to help him. I had many come to Jesus meetings with him over the years. As my mother always told me you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.
As I was reviewing my client list, I became acutely aware of the fact that the majority of the business clients I had were sick businesses.
As I thought further about this situation, I realized that if most of my clients have sick business, then my business, in turn, was sick. It was just a matter of time before they would wither away.
There would be a domino effect that would come and hit me right in the face.
As those businesses withered away, my business would wither away.
The success of my clients directly predicted my business success.
If I continued to work with sick clients, I would become incapacitated by a wretched disease that would bring me to my knees.
I decided I had to make a change. I had to find a better way to serve my clients.
I would need to make hard decisions and become hyper-focused on who I wanted as ideal clients.
When I started my business 11 years ago, I made the classic startup mistake of taking any client that was willing to hire me.
I spent the better part of last summer really asking myself some hard questions. Questions like:
- Who do I really love working with?
- If I could have the perfect customer, what would they be like?
- What are the most valuable services I can provide for my clients?
- What are my true strengths?
- What work do I love doing more than anything else?
- What work do I hate doing?
- If I could have the ideal business, what would it look like?
One of the exercises I performed was an 80-20 analysis of my clients.
The 80-20 rule states that 80% of your revenues will come from 20% of your clients.
Here are the steps I took in my 80-20 analysis. I created an excel spreadsheet and listed the following information for each client:
- Name of the client
- Total annual revenue
- Love or Cringe Factor (Did I love working with this client or did I cringe every time I got an email from them)
Once I collected all of the data I sorted the client list by total annual revenue.
The thing I realized is the clients that pay me the most are the ones that appreciate me the most.
I’ve worked with clients that appreciate the work I do. I’ve also worked with clients that don’t appreciate what I do.
I decided I would only work with clients that appreciate the work I do. The clients that appreciate me the most are the ones that will shower me with their certificates of appreciation (also known as money).
No longer would I bend over backwards trying to help those that are unappreciative. No longer would I do work that I do not love.
As I reviewed my clients list, one thing that became abundantly clear to me is I love working with Realtors.
Realtors are my niche customer.
Of all the businesses, I’ve worked with over the past 11 years; Realtors were my favorite clients to work with.
And that’s when I did it. On July 20, 2018, I committed to working with Realtors as a niche.
A sense of calm came over me and my shoulders loosed.
For 11 years, I had been making the business thing more difficult than it had to be.
By focusing on the Realtor niche, I had simplified everything.
No longer did I need to be a part of this organization or that organization.
I had one simple question that I could ask.
Is this going to help me serve my target Realtor niche customer?
If the answer was yes, then I would proceed.
If the answer was no, then the decision was simply no.
Now that I had my target customer, I could invest time, effort, and money to getting to really know my customer.
I could attend Realtor trainings to learn where they are struggling and needing help.
I could learn what other vendors are doing to help Realtors become successful.
I could devote time to learning the Realtor language.
The better I walk in the shoes of Realtors, the better I’m going to know how to serve them.
It really is that simple.
Know your customer.
By focusing on the Realtor niche, I’ve become a specialist. I’ve become the World’s first Relator Profit First Professional.
My whole purpose for being in business is to help Realtors keep more of their hard-earned commission check.
In my experience, the one area I see Realtors struggle most with is the money side of their business.
There is a constant pull to grow their business by always chasing more and more gross commission income (GCI).
In an effort to increase GCI, they rob Peter to pay Paul. They get themselves in a cash crunch, and then they end up living commission check to commission check.
It doesn’t have to be that way.
I’ve been there. I spent two years growing my business. In year two, I had grown my sales. Additionally, I spent so much money I ended up losing more money in year two then I did in year one.
And then I spent a dark, somber moment realizing things had to change. I couldn’t spend my way into success. I had to reengineer my business to be profitable no matter what.
And that’s when I learned the secret to guaranteed profitability.
Stay tuned for my next article where I will reveal the two secrets I used to immediately save the sinking ship that my business had become.