Do You Have Customers or Clients?

Do you have customers or clients, and, how do you know, anyway?

Maybe it would help if we define, roughly, the difference between a "customer" and a "client".

A “customer” is someone that buys something from you as a “commodity”.  The" customer" may or may not be the final user of the purchase.  A “customer” may not feel any loyalty to your business.

A “client” also makes purchases from you, but, in addition to commodity purchases, a "client" purchases your expertise. A “client” may (should) be more loyal.

So, based on this definition do you have customers or clients?

If you have customers how can you convert them to clients and, by extension, increase your value to them and value to your income stream?

Obviously, you must be a “professional” with expertise to offer your client as well as production. A client may want to discuss the many particulars of a given string or tennis racquet. This discussion may or may not lead to an immediate sale, so, in this case, the client is not even a customer yet!

We are professional racquet technicians but what are some other businesses that typically have clients instead of customers? Maybe accountants, attorneys, photographers, auto repair, software developers, etc. can be considered to have clients, not customers. Each has “expertise” in a certain field and are willing to share that expertise with you for a charge.

It is not uncommon, however, to expect a certain amount of “free” expertise. It is no different with racquet technicians!   We need to be willing to offer some of our expertise in an effort to create a good client and not just a customer.

Offering free product(s) or service(s) is not the kind of expertise I am suggesting. I consider the “verbalization” of your expertise as the best way to create value for a soon to be “client”. Giving a “free” product or service establishes a value of zero for that product or service. Try to avoid it!

If you have a “customer” you would like to convert to a “client” let them know it by going a little further into your process than normal. Ask them if they are interested in what you are about to say. This “interest” creates some “ownership” by them in what you are about to tell them.

As a member of IART you have a wealth of knowledge at your fingertips (or mouse tip) so don’t hesitate to use it to maximize your expertise.

Let me know how many customers you convert to clients!


Written by John Gugel

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