When it comes to spotting rockstar talent, there’s no one quite like Simon Cowell. Through his work on Pop Idol, American Idol, The X Factor and Got Talent shows around the globe, he’s a master at choosing the next big thing.

He’s been involved with everyone from One Direction, Olly Murs, Westlife, Susan Boyle and Kelly Clarkson to name but a few. He has a rare talent for creating acts and TV show formats that have considerable growth potential.

But when it comes to your own business, how do you predict which of your clients will really take off? How do you spot which of your clients have rockstar potential? And at what stage should you even attempt to spot the winners?

Not all clients are created equal

The good news is that you don’t need Simon Cowell’s uncanny knack of spotting the next big thing. Nor do you need a crystal ball. But you do need to understand the growth potential of your clients. Because it’s often better to let one client go so you can create spare capacity (time and business development resources) to invest in clients that have more growth potential.

But it’s not just a matter of identifying underperforming clients and letting them go so you can turn your attention to your biggest accounts (or business partners). To be successful, you actually need to spend more time with the clients that have the most potential to grow their own businesses. You need to find the next rockstar client who’s going to break out of the under performing quadrant and move up into superstar quadrant

As a case in point, one of our clients who runs an outsourced HR and payroll business, came to us when their business growth began to level off. While they had enjoyed early rapid growth success, four years in, their business growth was stagnant and their business development initiatives were falling flat.

TED Talk on 4 principles for better business-building by Sandy Moose

3 Truths Infographic

Failing to recognise growth potential

What we found is that the business was treating all its clients equally. They were failing to recognise growth potential of key clients and shared their business development resources across all their accounts.

With our help, the HR consultants identified clients that were underperforming but had the most potential to grow. They refocused their resources on them at the expense of accounts they had identified as having low potential.

By doubling down on the clients with growth potential, the company’s success rate began to climb. This pinpoint targeting initiative began to really pay off, while they increased their sales, and improved the level of customer advocacy. All this growth without increasing resources on business development.

Biggest clients not necessarily greatest growth potential

Remember, your best clients are the ones with the most potential.

Here are 3 tips that will help you grow your own business faster:

  1. Focus on underperforming clients. You need to identify and focus on the underperformers with big potential while you minimise the time you spend on those clients who aren’t going anywhere. Or worse still, from those who suck up your time and resources without ever showing up positive on your balance sheet.
  1. Create extra capacity by spending less time with solid (cash cow) clients. For example, instead of meeting with them weekly, alternate between a teleconference and a face to face meeting.
  1. Invest time with superstar clients – to retain them. For example, invite your rockstar clients to participate in a “case study” video on their experiences, or speak at your next conference.

The crux of the matter is identifying an underperforming client with true rockstar potential. With confidence.

How to attract the correct new customers? Keith Betty (Founder of GGB Wealthcare) and Martin Blake (NSW Chairman of KPMG Australia)

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