Profit Builders: Do You Have Customers Or Clients?

It’s interesting how we position our selves, products and services often without realising the impact of what is happening and the subsequent effect to our business.

To use one example:

Around your office or business, do you use the word customer or client?

Although this sounds like a very small difference the effect on your relationship with them is dictated by this.

To understand this we can use the Webster Dictionary

Definition of “Customer“: one that purchases a commodity

Definition of “Client“: one that is under the protection of another, a person who engages the professional advice or services of another

Consider what the impact of this really is.

If you have customers, the position that you are adopting is that they are purchasing commodities. Commodities are abundant, replicable and replaceable. If your business perspective is based on this, how do those customers then view you offerings?

It becomes very difficult to differentiate yourself, charge a premium, develop loyalty to you if that is also their perception of you – a commodity provider.

Conversely, by using the word client in its place your whole perspective changes. You are now a trusted advisor to them. You have their best interest at heart – above your own.

And what happens to you in the eyes of the client? You become trusted, they show you loyalty, you are irreplaceable, you are needed.  Your purpose is to give your clients the best short term and long term results and benefits.

That may not sound like much of a strategy for increasing profit but look at it from the other side.

You will never let they buy less than they should, or at least you won’t be shy about offering and recommending, if appropriate, that they buy more because you have their best interests at heart.

Imagine that you were a doctor. You have a duty of care to your clients (patients). If someone who was sick came to see you and at the end of the consultation they ask which medicine of the two you recommend. It is your duty to recommend the medicine that you believe will give the most benefits and fewest side effects. Or would you let them take the “cheaper” that may have more side effects with fewer benefits?

Customers will see you as a commodity provider.

Clients will see you as trusted advisors.

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