The Sum of All Parts: Defining Your Customer

Reading time ( words)

“What’s your clientele like?”

“What industries do you serve?”

“What type of customers do you generally see?”

These are the most typical ways in which someone will ask us who our customers are. Many times, the purpose is to see whether we work in the same spaces as them or as a way of gauging whether we are “worthy” enough of having them as a customer. The approach to a customer, though, should not be focused on a certain industry or a certain aspect of the manufacturing sector. It should fill a need, one that is broad and encompasses a wide variety of industries—from at-home appliances to aerospace parts.

It is our responsibility, as the providers of a product or service, to treat an individual or group as a customer before they give us their money. To treat them any other way seems conspicuously selfish. The cliché of the aggressive, borderline-rabid salesperson is just that: a cliché. People are less and less inclined to being “pitched.”

Webster’s dictionary defines a customer as “one that purchases a commodity or service.” On the face of it, that seems like a reasonable definition. What happens, though, when 100 or 1,000 other businesses offer the same commodity or service as you? You make every effort to set yourself apart from the competition. We’ve done this by redefining what a customer is to us.

It is no longer about the product we’re selling; now it’s also about the experience. Ask yourself this question: If price was not an issue, why would your customers pick you? Even in a predominantly B2B industry such as ours, experience matters. Sellers often forget that they are not only selling a product—they’re selling themselves. Trust is the single-most important thing a person or a business can buy from you.

From there, the price of the product arguably becomes inconsequential. So, to answer the question in so many words, our customer is anybody who comes to our business looking not just for a product, but for an experience that will allow us to demonstrate why you should pick us and not the other guys.

Sam Sangani is president and CEO of PNC Inc.


Suggested Items

Book Recommendation: The One Percent Edge—Small Changes That Guarantee Relevance and Build Sustainable Success

02/28/2018 | Dan Beaulieu
Occasionally you read a book that truly makes a difference. I can tell I am reading a book like this one by how much longer it takes me to read it, but not because it’s boring or slow reading, certainly not! It’s because I stop constantly to jot down ideas in my notebook that stimulate me to come up with ideas that pertain to my own business.

Blue Sky for Eagle Electronics

02/19/2018 | Patty Goldman, I-Connect007
I recently had the opportunity to chat with the new director of sales and marketing at Eagle Electronics, Andy D’Agostino. I’ve visited Eagle before; they are endlessly busy, with good things going on, so I was happy when I learned that Brett McCoy was now COO and another fellow had taken over some of the sales and marketing activities. Andy comes with a wealth of experience and seems to have settled in nicely.

Orbotech’s Strategic Decision for End-to-End Partnership Benefits Everyone

02/14/2018 | Barry Matties, I-Connect007
Barry Matties met with Sharon Cohen, president of Orbotech West, at productronica 2017 to discuss what’s new at Orbotech, specifically their shift to be more customer-centric and to provide regional coverage across the globe. He also discusses the current trends in the marketplace and Industry 4.0.

Copyright © 2018 I-Connect007. All rights reserved.