How to get good customers, especially when we are just starting out. We all know that as a small business the first thing we need is customers. Every business must build on its first few sales. In doing this you build both financially and in confidence. However, a bad customer can destroy them both. It is cash flow and confidence that carries a small business through the hard times. Although it all sounds great to have only the customers of your choosing, it’s often the case that you need any customer you can get. However, it is important to note that as you build confidence you will start to understand that there are the right customers to deal with.
What is a Good Customer?
A good customer is one that understands the value that you or your product bring to the transaction. For example, if you sell a high-quality service or product a good customer understands that haggling for a better price is not the best way to approach the transaction. Instead, they understand that quality has a price. Therefore, it is so important to understand what value your business has to the “good customer”. If you can understand why you do what you do, that message becomes clear. It will then attract the right customer. Back to the example, if someone is after a cheap product then they know they can’t get it from you. They will get it from someone else who sells a cheap product. Once you understand your offer then you can target your business to the right customer.
Finding a Good Customer before the sale
First, you must listen to what a potential buyer is saying to you. The way they approach the transaction will determine the value they place in you. This will give you signs of the way they treat you when they are a customer. Here are a few things to look for before taking on a new customer:
- The way they talk about the price – Haggling or giving you quotes from competitors
- Are they aggressive? – Do they give threats about the service they require (do this or else)
- You give them a price and then you have to justify that your product is worth it. This should have been done before the price is given
- They want you to drop everything for them
These are just a few things and obviously not binding on all parties, but if you have had a bad customer remember the way they approached the sale. The saying “something left a bad taste” You must remember what it looked like before you tasted it. There are signs that things will be hard work if they continue. We must remember as a small business who you deal with will affect your whole life, (family, lifestyle, etc.).
How to get the Good Customer
Here are some ways to get a good customer:
- Know your offer – understanding exactly what you will bring to a potential customer
- Know who your offer fits best – Target the right customers so there is no mistake or misfit.
- Have a certain procedure that you must go through before you deal with a potential customer. – It could be a certain set of questions that you ask them before going any further. We use the Why questionnaire as it shows us the level of commitment someone is willing to take to work with us.
- Identify the good customers you already have and reflect on the transactions you have with them – what is it about them that makes them so good to work with.
Running a small business is hard work and takes a lot of dedication and confidence. There is really no such thing as a bad customer. There is, however, a certain customer that may not fit your company. This can lead to bad experiences. Gaining any customer takes a lot of effort so if you already have good customers look after them. They are hard to find.