“Trick or Treat”
Do you remember going around your neighborhood dressed up as your favorite character yelling that wonderful phrase?
Ah, the days of Halloween as a child.
For me, the actual trick-or-treating wasn’t even the most fun part of the night. It was what came after – counting and sorting all the candy I got like a pirate going through their treasure.
It was a competition between me and my friends. Who got the most candy?
I remember feeling a sense of pride when my pillowcase was filled to the brim – that was definitely more than my best friend’s small bucket!
As I got older, I started paying more attention to what candy I was getting rather than how much.
Tootsie Roll, Tootsie Roll, another Tootsie Roll… A Kit Kat bar! Score.
I’d gladly trade 10 Tootsie Rolls for a Reese’s, thank you very much.
I realized that my Halloween adventures had some valuable lessons I could apply to my business and my life.
IT’S ABOUT QUALITY, NOT QUANTITY
When it comes to choosing the projects you take on and the clients you work with, it’s easy to just go with whatever comes your way. After all, it wouldn’t hurt to grab as many opportunities as you can right?
It’s important to be purposeful when selecting which of those opportunities you would like to spend your time pursuing.
After all, it takes just as many small projects or clients to equal one big, meaningful one.
If you focus too much energy on getting as much candy as you can, you might find yourself winding up with a bag full of Tootsie Rolls rather than getting those king-sized Snickers.
Similarly, when you spend your time working with too many clients at once or fill your time with one-off projects, you might end up missing the “right” clients and projects, and if you are over-extended you can’t offer your clients the value they deserve or the value that sets you apart from your competition.
In fact, a study conducted by PWC revealed that customers are willing to pay up to a 16% premium to businesses offering better value of service.
Therefore, allowing yourself the space to provide the quality of service will pay off much more than simply grasping at everything you can.
SOMETIMES IT’S IMPORTANT TO TURN DOWN SOME CANDY
You might think, “But I am a multi-tasker, I am completely capable of doing all these things at once!”
We get it. It’s exciting when you’re greeted with opportunity after opportunity, and it doesn’t make sense to say no to the chance of making more money.
But think of it this way: When you turn down something that you feel isn’t the best fit for you, you’re intentionally setting aside time to put into the things that matter more.
This also ensures that you’re steering away from clients who might not fully understand the value you offer and often put you in a position where you have to devalue your work.
Have you ever had one of those unfriendly neighbors who just dumped a bowl of expired, melted candy from three Halloweens ago into your bag?
You either end up with much less space in your bag for new candy, or spend so much of your time and energy clearing them out that you no longer want to continue trick-or-treating.
By saying no to the projects and clients that aren’t the best for you, you’re able to strengthen your worth by providing quality service and paying attention to the right people, and have the bandwidth to foster relationships with your long-term clients.
PRO TIP: Something we suggest is actually blocking off time each week that you dedicate uninterrupted time to projects.
This means, no meetings during those times. If someone needs to meet, you’re already booked for that time slot and they’ll have to schedule with you at a time you haven’t designated for working on projects.
IT’S NOT JUST ABOUT CANDY, IT’S ABOUT PEOPLE
Although the quality of candy – or projects – is essential, let’s not forget that the people you’re working with are what’s most important.
How many of you took the time to greet your neighbors (yelling trick or treat doesn’t count) and have a nice conversation with them instead of just leaving right after you got the candy?
I found that when I spent a little more time asking them how they were doing and catching up with them outside of Halloween, it resulted in getting an extra packet of M&M’s or, better yet, sometimes it meant creating a relationship that resulted in getting candy every time I saw them — all year long!
In fact, customer acquisition is much more expensive than simply retargeting customers who already have a relationship with you.
On Halloween, every “transaction” required walking miles on end, scoping the neighborhoods, seeing whose porch lights were on to gauge if they were home, ringing the doorbell, waiting and hoping they would answer, and then interacting with the iconic “trick or treat.”
Contrast this with simply asking for candy from those who you have a relationship with any time of the year — I bet you’ll find it was a lot less effort and an easier sell.
Therefore, when you are looking at your metrics, prioritize how many returning visitors you’re getting to your website, or, how many returning customers you’re getting rather than how much new traffic you’re getting.
While it’s important to always hit new houses or service new customers, you can guarantee those houses in your own neighborhood (the people that already know you well), will always be easier to get candy from each and every Halloween.
In the same way, think of your good clients as those you want to work with in the long run.
Remember, business is more than products and services. It’s people. It’s lives. It’s relational.
Take the time to build meaningful relationships that not only benefit you but your customer as well.
How can I continue to provide my services to them that will help me continue to generate revenue, while helping their business succeed as well?
What kind of connections can both of you gain from each other?
If you invest time into building those relationships, you will see the returns.
The great thing about these lessons is that they can be applied not only to your business, but to your personal lives as well.
Focus on the quality of your relationships and activities.
Remember the importance of saying no to things that aren’t the right fit for you.
Build meaningful relationships.
Remember that it is always easier (and cheaper) to foster an already established client relationship than acquiring a brand new customer.
So now, ask yourself, “How Much Candy Are You Grabbing?”