just how valuable is your customer?

Customers are the life-blood of any business. No customers – no business. It’s that simple.

Nothing makes me sadder in the business world than hearing of companies that are taking advantage of their customers – it’s something I refuse to do no matter what and know that the best companies feel the same way.

Some companies go even further – Nordstrom is one, Zappos another.

So what does it take to build a company that keeps customers coming back year after year?

Let’s take a look at two examples that emphasize the importance of your customers.

First, never look at a customer as only a sale – think of them as a loyal part of your business. Imagine them coming to your store month after month. year after year.

With that in mind you take a different perspective when meeting a new potential customer.

Most salespeople see a sale of $29.95 as nothing to get excited about. But a good salesperson knows that sale of $29.95 is not just $29.95 but $29.95 x 52 weeks x as many years as they come.

How many people do you know who go to the same hairdresser year after year. My wife does, my clients do.

Those businesses understand that each customer that walks through their doors is worth many times more than what they will pay that day.

It’s a completely different way of looking at things.

In fact, we should all see our customers as being repeat business otherwise we aren’t doing our job.

And a word to the wise – sell them something they don’t need, or ask them to overpay and you will undoubtedly lose their business to another company.

We should all aim to give our clients or customers absolutely the best service we can provide, and then some.

In today’s ultra-competitive market, I believe that this is almost a requirement for success.

Personally I work at night to do extra stuff that no one ever knows about. I devote extra time to their success all unbeknownst to them until now (if they are reading this).

I work hard because I view each person as an opportunity to build a relationship, to help them with their personal needs in any way I can.

Another good example of this I heard the other day from author Harvey Mackay which is what inspired me to write this article.

The story took place in Spokane, Washington many years ago.

A shabbily dressed man went into his bank to cash a cheque for $67.50 and which the teller did. He then pulled out a parking stub which he wanted validated.

The teller told the man that as it wasn’t a major transaction he’d have to pay for his own parking.

The man then asked to speak to her supervisor. His supervisor came out, take a look at the gentleman, backs up the teller saying just what the teller had, “As this wasn’t a major transaction you’ll have to pay for your own parking.”

The man proceeded to walk out of the bank, get in his car, pay the 50 cent parking charge and leave.

Ten minutes later he walked back into the bank, went up to the same teller and withdrew $1 million cash, then walked across the street to their arch-competitor and opened a new account.

The following day, he did the same. $2 million lost, over 50 cents.

Take a good hard look at your customers, some may be one-time buyers, others may be worth millions to your company.

Keep that in mind the next time someone walks through your doors.

Adrian Shepherd

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