We all have those favourite customers – the ones we’d bend over backwards for when they really need our help.
Think about those things you most appreciate about your best customers and make a list. Draw a ‘picture’ of what your ideal customer ‘looks’ like. My friend and marketing guru Debi Hartlen MacDonald says that we should even ‘name’ our ideal customer. Get to know who they are and we will recognize them when we meet them.
As small business owners, we tend to work a lot with other small business owners. If I can be an ideal customer to my suppliers, it’s beneficial to both of us.
Best customer characteristics will vary depending on what you do. Here are some suggestions for how you can be an ideal customer:
Make your requirements clear. Right from the start establish what your expectations are and develop a plan to work together to achieve them.
Give specific and timely feedback. Be honest early on. And be as exact as possible. Use words that allow your supplier to act on your feedback.
Meet deadlines. Commit to meeting established deadlines by entering them in your calendar and planning your work accordingly. When sh*t happens, as it is bound to at some point, your supplier will be more willing to accommodate if it’s possible.
Pay invoices on time. Need I say more? Cash flow is important to all small businesses.
I firmly believe that we attract our own ideal customers by being an ideal customer ourselves.
photo by Dell’s Official Flickr Page
Originally published in Work Better, Not Harder on November 22, 2012