Let’s face reality -- no one can satisfy all the people all the time. In business, this means an entrepreneur who never says no to any customer is doomed to a hard life and some expensive mistakes. Many people will argue that total customer satisfaction is paramount, but I’m a pragmatist who believes that treating everyone the same really means treating all of them poorly.For example, I have known several sincere technology entrepreneurs who were so busy adding and updating features for their product to satisfy early adopter requests, that they ended up with a bloated, hard to use, late to market and expensive solution which really satisfied no one in their primary market demographic. That’s not a happy situation for real customers or the business.Thus, I have developed some guidelines that I believe will help you know when it’s appropriate to go all-out for a customer, and know when it’s better to say no with conviction and finality.
The key to success in saying no is to recognize the wrong customers for your business before their expectations absorb more of your limited resources than they contribute. In the worst case, you can lose the right customers by redirecting your strategy and resources in an attempt to satisfy the needs of the wrong ones.Successful businesses focus on satisfying and delighting the right customers and redirecting the wrong ones to the right place before they get hurt or hurt your business. Both of these objectives require that you understand the strengths and goals of your business, and your entire team is trained and motivated to achieve the same objectives.Success is being able to say no to a customer -- and still have both of you walk away happy.