Business-to-business customers, or B2B clients, are part of any business’ structure. For the most part, they come in the form of partner businesses and client businesses. For companies that focus primarily on B2B clients, it’s important to understand the different types of clients and how to handle them.
If we consider the individual – B2C – typc customers we discussed a few weeks ago…
…a few things jump to out.
Firstly, at the base of them all, there are a lot of similarities between B2B clients and B2C customers. Clients (as opposed to customers) almost follow these exactly typings:
The Regular Client
This is the business equivalent of that one guy who always comes in to a cafe at 2:45pm to get a coffee and wait for his kids to finish school. Regular clients are the ones who will keep coming back because your company is familiar; they have a good relationship with the company, its team, and they understand how it works. These are the sort of businesses who might look for quotations elsewhere but at the end of the day will likely return to their current vendor, simply because it’s easier and comfortable.
The Hands-Off Client
A simple client, with simple, unchanging needs. They know what they’re looking for and whether your company has it or not is not entirely within the realm of your control. Usually, these clients will only contact you when they are really ready for a quotation. They’ll have researched your materials, possibly talked to other businesses who you’ve referenced in testimonials online; they know what you’ve done and what your company is capable of. Unlike with a B2C customer, the Hands-Off Client is a harder sell. Yes, they’re at your door because they’re serious, but they’re looking for the best value and you can be sure they’ve got five other businesses on the line.
The Unpleasable Client
In the B2B world, an unpleasable client is incredibly hard work – as with the unpleasable customer, they’re impossible to work with, never happy with what you put out. This makes them a pain in the you know what. More than that, however, is that clients like these are going to do one of two things: either they’ll jump ship many times until they find a business that is able to meet their expectations within their realm of tolerance, or they’ll stick with your company and complain about everything. They’ll still pay you, however, and in a very Machiavellian sort of way, that’s really all that matters.
The Window Shopper
Delivered three versions of a quotation? Taken a client out to lunch, dinner, and drinks several times? Still no decision? You may have a window shopper on your hand. Like the B2C window shopper, a Window Shopper client is not unreachable, they might not be ready yet. For the most part, businesses tend not to waste as much time as individuals when it comes to dawdling around in front of offers so that tends to work in our favour.
The daydream, the castle in the sky. A business that will work with you perpetually, never complains, is super flexible, willing to make everything work despite setbacks and the occasional messup. Wouldn’t it be nice if these unicorns really existed?
There we have it. 5 Customer Types in a Business World. These are stereotypes, obviously, the world is far more complicated than a simple list of who’s, why’s, and hows.