Do you know the difference between customers and clients?

Why do clients buy more than customers do?

Last week I was having lunch with a client at a restaurant I have visited at least half a dozen times in recent years. My client had been there even more times and also knew the owner by name. We ate and worked there for about 2 hours. None of the staff knew our names or what we had ordered on our previous visits. They had no data on us so they could not have recommended that we try their hot, juicy and delicious lamb or the banana and coconut smoothie. We were nameless and faceless economic transactions so they could not offer us any more value than their competitors across the street. They should have turned us from customers into clients but I am not sure they knew how to do so.

Do you know the difference between customers and clients?

Many retail businesses attend to customers while service entrepreneurs like lawyers, doctors and consultants usually describe the people they are engaged in helping as clients. At face value it is just a matter of choice which word you use but in thought and practice, it is infinitely better to have more clients than customers.
Customers buy once or twice and leave. They are nameless, faceless economic transactions on a balance sheet. It does not matter how much potential value you can give them or how much more they would buy if only you bothered to find out. Clients on the other hand are invaluable assets to a business. Clients are nurtured and made to feel special. We have conversations with clients about their children and even give them recommendations as to which barbershop or accountant to consider when the need arises. Clients are extended family members. We do every thing in our power to make sure they get more value for their money in the long term. This is not about making money once and letting them go, when we encounter a client, we keep them for life. Remember that clients are about the long game, customers are for today.

Conversation with event planner

I was advising an entrepreneur in the event and wedding planning space and noticed she was booking very few brides even though her value was practically unmatched. After the event, she hardly kept in touch with the brides so she did not even know which of them had younger siblings or friends who could be potential clients in a few years. I advised that the next time someone bought one of her services, she was to find out how many siblings they had, their ages and if they were engaged to be married in the near future. Her assignment was to find a way to contact those potential clients and offer her services with the promise of a discount at least once a quarter till they got married. The plan was to not only get a client but the whole family as well. As long as she is in it for the long game, she will become a trusted consultant to each family she deals with. She will be sought after for every baby shower, birthday party or corporate event that happens amongst that group of people.

The biggest benefit and purpose of being in business is that it allows us entrepreneurs to be a bigger blessing to our clients and the world around us than anyone else. The entrepreneur who provides the highest value usually makes the most money and gets the most fulfillment. John D. Rockefeller reduced his profits by providing cheaper oil products than his competitors and in turn millions of people rewarded him with billions of dollars. He felt responsible for the quality of products being peddled in his industry and his clients paid him well for that mindset.

One way the restaurant I mentioned earlier should have converted us into clients by capturing our names, phone numbers or email addresses. In practice they can have clients write down these details on the bill or a separate sheet of paper. They can then use this information to email the menu, special events, new services, recipes or promotions to these clients in the future.

Remember that clients are about the long game, customers are for today.

Book recommendation: The Bible is the best book on how to run a business. IN this context, study 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 Amplified version on how to turn customers into clients.

More book recommendations

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