Who are my customers?
My LED lighting customers are industrial and commercial manufacturing facilities. They could also be hospitals, retail, and hotels. They are generally building or facilities managers, or even operations managers. My customers could also be small, medium and large companies and they are in all sorts of industries. My marketing and business consulting customers are entrepreneurs and small business owners.
Or are they?
Customers are actually people
My customers are actually the people who fill the roles that I described and that work at the companies in the industries I listed. They are all individuals. They either do business with me or not based on our personal relationship. My customers are Frank, Susan, Lily, John, and Liz and they do business with me because they trust me and are happy with the work I’ve done for them in the past. They are working in a particular role, but they are not robots and their personal views, interactions and past experiences have shaped how or if they might purchase our product or service.
As we do business with our customers, we must always remember that our customer is a person, regardless of how large or small the organization is that she or he represents. A person makes the decision to approve of a purchase, whether with a purchase order, a credit card or cash, for a product or service. Imagining our customers as faceless corporations is dangerous as it ignores the interpersonal relationships that matter for customer acquisition and closing deals.
And any person can be your customer
And practically anyone within a customer organization can potentially become that person. You may be working with the marketing director from a particular business, but she may move to another division, or even another company that does something totally different. Just because someone within an organization is not your customer now, does not mean she or he might not be in the future. As we all often hear, it’s a small world so be careful how you interact with everyone you meet.
I encourage us all to remember that while our customers can be segmented by various demographic, psychographic, geographic traits or by market or industry, the actual person that signs the deal is always a person. This person has various personality traits and a history that will guide her or his decisions.
We ignore the person behind the position at our peril.