15 Apr eHarmony and “Right Clients / Right Terms® – Strange Bedfellows?
eHarmony® and “Right Clients / Right Terms®” – Strange Bedfellows?
Perhaps you’ve heard the new ads – Dr. Neil Clark Warren, the dignified and kindly founder of eHarmony.com, has returned to the company as CEO. This is great news! I (Steve) know Dr. Warren and hold him in the highest regard. He is a man of deep faith and also a man on a mission. He founded eHarmony because he believed his calling was to use his gifts, training and vast experience as a clinical psychologist and family therapist to end divorce. That’s a big mission – and a worthy one!
eHarmony, which accounts for over 500 marriages a day on average, has become a powerful digital tool using proprietary algorithms to match potential couples on specific dimensions of compatibility. They have had astounding success.
Writing in the Huffington Post on July 5, 2011, Dr. Warren advises couples to carefully consider whether marriage is really right for them. In the same vein, he states that no matter what you do, or how hard you try, to make your marriage work, all that effort is much less important to a successful marriage than picking the right person in the first place. John and I find ourselves in enthusiastic agreement with Dr. Warren – sadly, we have both been to that painful and expensive seminar.
Professionally, we strongly advocate that the same principle applies to choosing the clients that you decide to do business with. Tenacity calls this principle “Right Clients …”. We’ve seen time after time where our own clients have lost contracts with companies they later realize they should never have been doing business with in the first place. Those companies and their expectations have been so misaligned with our client’s capabilities, service model and even culture, that the relationship was doomed from the start. Still, in the quest for top line growth, they often tried so hard to make it work, they burned through talented people, neglected (and put at risk) the clients they really did fit with and endured all of this agony for little or no profitable return.
It’s hard to say “no” to a salesperson that can deliver a new client – even when it’s a questionable fit or the contract terms are a bad compromise. In the end though, once that contract has inevitably been lost, hindsight almost always concludes the firm would have been better off walking away from the opportunity when it first presented itself. Better the competition endure the aggravation and disappointment.
“Right Clients / Right Terms®” entails a formal process of experiential and relevant filters and screens that provide an objective framework to “just say no.” You’ll thank yourself later. So will your people. So will your profitability.
As we’ve said before – with whom you choose to do business – is one of the two most important business decisions you’ll ever make. We hope you’ll adopt the objective disciplines to make it well and learn from the times you haven’t.
Steve & John