Monday, December 17, 2007

Getting a client, instead of an occasional buyer

–noun 1. a person or group that uses the professional advice or services of a lawyer, accountant, advertising agency, architect, etc.

But, I think we all know a client is much more than that, don’t we?

Clients pay for the service you provide for them. Give good service, and you will:
- Have a loyal client that keeps coming back for more, providing you in return, with steady income.
- Have a client that will give his friends good references of you, providing you with more work.
- Get an ally and a friend that will help your business grow, while you make theirs, grow.

Sounds great, right?

And how exactly do you get to that point?

Allow me to illustrate with a recent experience of mine:

A couple of weeks ago I wanted to buy a watch, so I went to the mall. There were about five stores that carried the kind of watch I wanted. So I went to the first store and requested the watch, and they had it, except they carried it in light blue and pink.

“Hmm, I’d rather it was black” I said to the sales guy. “We don’t carry it in black” he said. So I replied “Great, let me check other stores and see if I can find it. If I don’t, I’ll come back and buy one of these”, to which he replied “You’re not going to find it in this mall. We’re the only ones who carry this particular model, so you might as well buy it right away”.

“Thanks” I said, “I’ll take my chances”.

The second store I visited carried the watch and guess what: They had it in black! The sales lady was very polite, told me the price, allowed me to try it on… But I still wanted to see if I could get a better price somewhere else. “Thanks” I said, “I’ll check other stores and come back if I decide to buy this one”. “Great!” she said, “I’ll be here if you need me”.

Surely enough, I went to other stores, they all carried the watch in different colors, including black. Where do you think I went back to buy the watch?

See the difference? The first guy was interested in making THIS particular sale and getting his commission. The second lady was interested in what I wanted. I wanted a black watch, at a better price.
Sure, she wanted to sell hers too, but she was more focused on providing a service and letting the customer get the best deal (And of course, she was confident that I could not get a better price anywhere else). She was also very friendly and provided me with great service by giving me information and allowing me to try it on.

If I ever need to buy another watch, or if I know of someone that needs one, I’ll recommend that particular store. She got herself a client.

If I had bought the watch at the first store just because I couldn’t find it anywhere else, I would’ve become an occasional buyer and would have never come back. And I am not coming back.

Who’s more intelligent? I bet by now you get my point…

Think of providing a service, a great service, instead of thinking about how to make one sale. Think of what the client wants and give it to them. It may be that the client doesn’t actually buy from you now, but they will remember you and come back if they see that you’re eager to provide them with value, rather than just take their money.

All the best!

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