053: Customers vs. Clients - 5 Tips to Convert Business Relationships

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Do you know the difference between a “customer” and a “client”? If not, don’t worry! I struggled with understanding the nuance for a long time in my consulting career. In today’s episode, we’re going to examine the definitions of customers vs. clients, and lay down five key actions you can take to build business relationships that are more than transaction deep.

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Submit a question for our new monthly Question & Answer episode to: questions@buyblackpodcast.com 3 Key Points:
  1. Know the difference between Customers vs Clients: Customers come to your business to get a product or a service. Your relationship is transaction-based. Loyal customers will happily patronize your business again and again, but that doesn’t make them clients. Client relationships typically feature and exchange of value based on a trust relationship and demonstrated expertise.
  2. Become the Concierge: Everybody claims to “know a guy who knows a guy”. You want to be THAT Guy (or Gal)! Build a strong and diverse professional network and always look for opportunities to refer your customers to other people who can solve their problems. Not only does this increase your personal value in their eyes, but your peer business relationships grow stronger because of your referrals! DJay Reace and Oliver M. Fitzpatrick have some great techniques for building professional networks!
  3. Have a Coaching or Consulting Offer Ready: If you build real relationships with your customers, many of them will ask for more access to you and your expertise. You NEED to be prepared for this with a structured coaching or consulting offer! Take the time, while you have it, to put together a basic offer for your services and have an agreement in your file library. There is no shortage of coaching/consulting agreement templates available on the web, but here’s the one that worked best for me Templates for Coaches.
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Voices of Black Business Show Notes

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Today’s Voice of Black Business: Five Steps to Convert Customers into Loyal Clients Gerald’s #1 Piece of Advice: Show that you care about THEM...not their money!
  • [04:30] Define clients and customers
    • Customers buy a goods or basic services from your business
    • Clients typically purchase professional services from a business or individual
    • Customer transactions usually involve immediate value exchange
    • Client transactions usually involve value exchanged over time for expertise
  • Customer examples
    • Gym memberships
    • Cars
    • Cell phones
    • Car washes
    • Pet supplies
  • Client examples
    • Personal training client
    • Referred Car Salesman
    • Exclusive Cell Phone Salesman
    • Personal Car Detailer
    • Pet care and grooming specialist
  • What’s the difference in those scenarios?
    • Not associated with advanced degrees or professional certifications
    • Demonstrated expertise
    • Personal relationships
    • Mutual trust and respect
  • [09:45] Stories
    • Car clients who followed me to AT&T
    • Small businesses who only purchased new phones through me
  • Your mission - Expand your relationship with customers...turn them into CLIENTS!
Five Steps to Convert Customers to Loyal Clients
  1. [15:15] Deliver unexpected expertise
    1. Listen intently to your customers
    2. Sniff out the underlying questions or concerns they have
    3. Provide answers or solutions proactively
    1. Become a concierge for your customers
    2. Be “the guy who knows a guy”: take every opportunity to refer a customer to someone who can solve their problems not directly related to your business
  2. [16:50] Connect them with the people and resources they need
    1. Give them your contact information, and take calls free for a limited time (This mainly applies to entrepreneurs whose business model is not already based on client service)
    2. Once your customers have experienced the value of having access to your expertise, present them with your coaching or consulting offer
  3. [17:58] Make yourself available to them away from the office (tip-toe this delicate line)
    1. People expect to PAY for the value they receive
      1. In this case, the “neighbors” are your different types of relationships with customers, clients, friends, and family
      2. The “fences” are the agreements (preferably written) that separate those relationships into neat buckets
    2. The phrase, “good fences make good neighbors” can be modified to apply here
    3. Your coaching or consulting relationship needs to be set apart, structured with an agreement, and paid in full
      1. I didn’t feel right charging him
      2. He didn’t feel right picking my brain for an hour at a time for free...so he ghosted...for months
        • Don’t undervalue your services. If you don’t know how to set your rates, start with a round number and adjust to the market
        • $100/hr or as a flat fee is a good starting point for most entrepreneurs
      3. Bottom line, charge people for the value you provide. A good friend or client wants to pay what you’re worth
    4. I learned this lesson first hand, almost lost a friend & client
  4. [20:45] HAVE A COACHING OR CONSULTING OFFER READY!
    1. You have got to charge clients for your services
    2. In many cases, you should charge a premium
    3. But, regardless of how much your clients pay you, the money is simply the key used to unlock the door to your expertise
      1. You genuinely solve or help them solve their problems
      2. You remove stress and simplify your client’s life
      3. You put their happiness, and well-being at the forefront of your relationship...always
    4. Real VALUE is created and transferred in two ways
  5. [30:35] Prove that you care about them, not their money
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