Bill Bachrach in his famous book, Values Based Selling, noted that there are only five categories a customer, or in his case a client, fits into.
While not all of us work in a service based industry, it’s a critical part of business to define your ideal customer.
As stated within the book title, Bill’s sales approach is geared toward providing value to the customer first, while building a huge amount of trust that will result in a healthy working relationship.
I am going to take Bill’s concept, and put my own "Bent Business" twist on things.
5 Categories Every Client or Customer Fits Into
The Fearful One
Doesn’t trust anyone! They constantly find new ways to back out of deals, return goods and pride themselves on being secretive. Everyone is out to get them.
They understand the benefits associated with your product or service, but talk themselves out of making a purchase decision. They are fearful of change, and refuse to embrace technology.
This customer might become a one time visitor to your store, but rarely has anything nice to say about their visit. The fearful customer is definitely someone you want to avoid. The cool thing is, they often avoid you as well. Not a huge concern, but you must be able to spot them.
Small Talk & No Purchase
This person visits your store, calls your office and is constantly asking for FREE advice. They are experts when it comes to obtaining information at zero cost. They can spend hours hanging out, picking your brain but always fail to convert and make a purchase.
This type of person is the hardest for business owners to deal with. You want to be cordial, and allow them the time to talk. But in your line of work, time is money, and when they show up, money is being wasted!
My advice to you would be to remove yourself from the situation right before your blood pressure starts to rise. Engage in a few minutes of small talk to keep them satisfied, but don’t let them distract you from the tasks at hand.
Fun Guy That Doesn’t Buy
This customer can capture an audience no matter what the setting is. His, or her, personality lights up the room! You often lose track of time because you are massively entertained.
But just like the small talk guy in number two, this person fails to make a purchase. You rarely see that as a problem, because they’ve provided you with enjoyment, and helped relieve the stress of doing business.
I don’t view this category as harmful to business. I actually welcome the “fun guy.” They may not be your bread and butter, but their value is expressed by their engaging personality. Embrace their existence!
I Can Do That!
Very similar to the second category, these people will pick your brain, but always attempt to do things themselves. I would be lying if I said that I didn’t fit into this category. I love soaking up new information, but my budget prevents me from making a purchase. Good for me, but bad for business.
The downside of fitting into this category, is that my attempts usually fall insanely short. My final product is sub par, and hindsight always shows me a vision of what might have been if I only invested my money and hired a professional. A typical dude move, but not always the best idea!
The Great One
This category is the smallest, but yields awesome results. Not only do they count for a majority of your income, but they are always building your business through word-of-mouth. By their sheer enthusiasm, your business quickly becomes the talk of the town. They always have something positive to say, and are willing to contribute to your growth however possible.
Don’t waste your time searching for them. They tend to find you, but it’s your responsibility to keep them coming back!
While there might be some customers or clients that don’t fit into any of these categories, it’s safe to say that the majority will find a home eventually. Each one comes with their own set of challenges. But each challenge can be followed by a reward.
Treat each individual you come across with respect. Provide them with valuable information, and always place them into category number five, unless they prove otherwise.
The human mind is a powerful thing! Each one of us perceives life’s challenges differently. Place yourself into one of these categories. Look at your offer through the eyes of your customer. Research and don’t react!
Success is only a stones throw away. You just need to strengthen your throwing arm!
Andy Sokolovich is the owner of small business marketing firm Bent Business Marketing. He can be reached at andy@BentBusinessMarketing.com.