By definition, a customer “buys goods or services from a business,” while a client “is someone who engages with the services of a professional.”
A customer “buys” from an entity or organization; a client “engages” with a professional person.
A customer is often one-and-done, laying down their cash money for a specific thing and leaving, while a client returns time-and-again because his/her needs are met (even exceeded) by the expertise of the service professional.
A customer may never return again.
A client values your brand, service, and knowledge, and will drive across town past many other options.
How do you tell if your buyer is a customer or client?
In almost every case, you won’t know your buyer’s mindset. They may ask “Where do I find the widgets?” or say, “I need your help determining which widget is best for me.”
The first is looking for a product, while the second is seeking your insight and guidance.
What you can control is whether YOU look upon your buyer as a customer or client. If you reply to “Where do I find the widgets?” with “They are in aisle 12,” you possess a customer mentality.
If instead you ask,“What specific type of widget can I help you with?” or “If you don’t mind me asking, for what type of project do you need a widget?” you are definitely client-focused.
If your first response to “I need your help determining which widget is best for me” is “They are aisle 12. If you need help, just come and find me” and walk away, you are almost certainly customer-oriented … and odds are that not only won’t he/she buy from you, but she/he’ll likely never come back again – and tell 10 friends about that less-the-satisfying experience!
There are many things you can do to build a loyal, highly-satisfied, tell-my-friends, return-business client-based culture. To learn what those thing are, let’s talk. Email email@example.com and ask for me, Steve.