Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Can You Name Your 10 Best Customers?

Inc. Magazine recently asked the question "Can you name your 10 best customers?" Good question.

Try it. Before you read further, pull out a sheet of paper and write down the names of your 10 best customers -- those 10 customers who are the highest contributors of gross margin to your business.

Then go get the facts. How did you score? For the average business owner, 6 correct isn't bad. 8 is pretty good.

The conclusion? We're sometimes misled by the demanding, the vocal or the highly visible customer. In fact, a really great customer may simply go unnoticed. And what happens as a result? Perhaps we fail to get all the business that might be available from these best customers, because we don't know for sure who they are. Perhaps we're taking them for granted. Worst case, they take their business elsewhere.

So, what might you do? Maybe go personally visit all those on both your "presumed" and "actual" best customers lists. Ask them how you're doing as a supplier, and what's getting in their way that they'd like a supplier to do for them.

Important: "What's getting in your way?" is a completely different question than "What else can we do for you?". It doesn't require the customer to think -- only to tell you where it hurts. t uncovers needs, in many cases, that the customer didn't even realize he had (or that you could fulfill).

I hope you find the results interesting and valuable to growing your business.

If you act on this suggestion, please let us know what you find. Click on "Comments" below and let us know what happened.

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Terry Weaver

Chief Executive Boards International

Chief Executive Boards International: Freedom for business owners & CEOs -- Less Work, More Money, More Freedom to enjoy it

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