The True Worth of a Customer – (13 Traits That Might Surprise You)

Have you ever stopped to wonder about the TRUE worth of a customer? I’m talking about the ‘bigger picture.’  I am talking about beyond the initial dollars and cents. What else is a customer worth to you?

The point is, a good customer is worth more than we might realize, more than what we see on the table.  And if we’re more aware of the total sum value of a client, then maybe we’ll do more; maybe we’ll be more conscientious; maybe we’ll try harder, respond quicker, create more value.  Maybe it will give us a whole new look at getting and keeping clients.

I recently posed these questions to a group of telephone sales reps that I trained in Florida and here’s what they came up with:

1.      A Sale

Okay, this is rather obvious – no surprise here – but certainly extremely important.  A customer means a sale. It means revenues.  It means success.  We like this.

2.      Subsequent Sales

A customer should not be seen as a one-time transaction. There could and should be subsequent sales.  Gurus will refer to it as the “life time value” of a client i.e., the total dollars the customer generates over the length of the relationship.  Look after your client well and this could be significant. Again, this should not be a big surprise to anyone in sales.

3.     A Pay Check

Someone in the class cleverly pointed this out with reference to commissions or bonuses.  A customer can be a source of income for you.

4.     Referrals and Leads

Customers could mean referrals … if you ask. Both internally in their own organization or externally with associates, friends and peers. You know this and I know this: referrals close faster and at a higher rate.  And as Martha Stewart might say, “And that’s a good thing.” But, you need to ask…

5.    Testimonials

Here’s something that is not often perceived much less leveraged by the average sales rep.  A customer could be a testimonial. Testimonials refer to a customer ‘testifying’ that your products or service helped them solve a problem and/or achieve superb results.  They tend to be more detailed and hence more credible. They’re wonderful things to have on websites, blogs, and other marketing material.  They’re worth a lot.

6.    Friendship

Here’s an interesting perspective.  Several reps surveyed pointed out they’ve developed friendships with certain clients.  Priceless.


Quotes are like testimonials but usually they are brief and often more general in their praise or remarks. Nevertheless, they build credibility in your company, your products and you.   Quotes help you sell more because they create confidence in other prospects you might be targeting.

8.      Job Security

Initially, this was quip by one of the trainees but as we discussed it, we decided it has merit. In fact, it has a lot of merit.  The more customers you have the greater your job security.  Can’t argue with that one.

9.      A Job Offer

Inevitably, after we talked about job security someone called out “a future job.”  In other words, your customer might like you and your efforts so much that he/she might offer you a position.  Of course,  your current boss may not be too pleased with that, but it’s something for you to consider.

10.      A Mentor/Coach

This is a heck of concept.  Some of your customers, if managed and groomed well, evolve into mentors or coaches.  This means they go above and beyond their typical role and help you by giving advice, directing your efforts, suggesting strategies.  There’s nothing it in for them. They are helping you for their own good reasons.  You cannot place a value or worth on a mentor or coach.

11.     “Lab Rat”

I loved this one.  A couple of the reps explained that they had clients who were willing test some products and give feedback.  They were willing to measure results and candidly share their impressions.  In effect, they were providing market intelligence that could be used in further selling efforts.  Powerful stuff.

12.     A Reference

A reference is sort of like a referral.  A reference is someone who will give you or your company or your product a rave review.  They’ll field a call for you from one of your prospects. Some will even go so far as to pick up the phone and call the prospect before the prospect calls them.  How much is that worth to you?

13.      Future Sales at a Future Company

Some customers leave their current employer. They go elsewhere. They often “take you with them.”  In other words, they liked you or your company so much that they continue the relationship.  Nice!

What is a Customer Worth to You?                                    

Okay … your turn: what is a customer worth to you?  What other values do they have to offer?  Do you have something we missed?  List them below and let’s see what we come up with.

In the meantime, start looking at your customers differently. They’re worth a lot more than you think.  So groom them. Nurture them. Don’t take them for granted. Scratch the surface and  leverage that value.

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