A Case for Discrimination – Why You Should Treat Customers Differently
Most of your headaches in business likely stem from one problem:
Having the wrong customers.
Just because someone needs your product or service, and has the money to purchase, doesn’t mean that you should allow them to be your customer. By serving everyone who comes through your door, you are creating unnecessary headaches for yourself.
I believe that you should discriminate, and only serve certain customers. But before you can begin discriminating, you first have to know what criteria to use.
There are only four types of customers that exist in the world:
- Low Profit – Low Maintenance
- Low Profit – High Maintenance
- High Profit – Low Maintenance
- High Profit – High Maintenance
Based on those descriptions, which type of customers would you prefer? High Profit – Low Maintenance, right? Me too. If you could fill your business with this type of customer, 99% of your headaches and worries would go away. Unfortunately, most business owners never spend the time to discriminate their customer base, and so, most are dealing with more headaches than they need.
You should consider discriminating your clients in the following order:
- High Profit – Low Maintenance – These are your best customers. You make the most profit when they purchase, and they require very little of your time and attention. You should treat these customers better than all the others.
- Low Profit – Low Maintenance – These are your customers from whom you don’t make much profit, but you really don’t have to spend much time and effort dealing with them. You should treat these people well, because they contribute to your profit and don’t waste your time, energy, and effort.
- High Profit – High Maintenance – These are the customers from whom you make good profit, but you have to spend a lot of time, energy, and effort to keep them happy. Depending on the structure of your business, this is one type of customer you may want to avoid.
- Low Profit – High Maintenance – These are the customers you wish had never purchased from you in the first place. You don’t make any money, and they continually eat up all your time and resources.
I’m sure as you read those customer types you couldn’t help but think about a few of your current, or past, customers. Think about your initial interaction with your customers. Are there any signs or buying clues that you could use to determine what type of customers they will be?
If you control the sales process and have built-in screening mechanisms, then it’s easy to add some questions that will help you determine what type of customers they will be. Here are a few questions to consider asking before making a sale:
- How do you intend on using our product/service?
- Who will be using our product/service?
- Do they have any experience with similar products/services?
- Why are you changing from your previous product/service provider?
- How do you see our product/service benefiting you?
- What do you expect from us after the sell?
What are some other questions you could ask to help screen potential customers?
Maybe you should just consider firing all your customers.
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