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Bob Meyer

Beyond The Limits Of Cash or Credit

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Focus ALL Your Marketing Efforts � Both Cash and Trade �

Where They�ll Be Most Effective

It�s not unusual for 70% to 80% of a firm�s cash business to come from 10% to 20% of its customers � often referred to as �A-customers.� Yet don�t confuse these customers as being only cash customers.

What is an A-customer for your firm? Each business needs to develop a specific profile of its best and most profitable customer. High volume is a major ranking criterion. But be prepared to downgrade the slow-paying big spender who consistently demands extra discounts and services.

Take another look at your customer base. How many ��A�s can you identify? Where are your potential ��A�s? What strategies can be developed to keep them coming to you? And what can you be doing to secure additional candidates? This is more than a time-management exercise. It involves rethinking your overall strategic plan. Each company must keep asking itself which client category is most important for both short-term and long-term survival.

An ideal A-customer is one who makes the most significant contributions to your bottom line. This is where your barter customers contribute heavily because their trade business is incremental business ... extra business that can be especially profitable. It�s often the frosting-on-the-cake, so to speak. Sometimes this customer receives a lower level of service because he or she is not demanding, and the business is considered �only trade.�

Yet, when properly analyzed, their business often places them up there in the top category, because they contribute heavily to your profits.

So bring your employees (or team members) together and see how close they can come to designing the perfect A-customer. Write down all the criteria � it is important to your company�s future.

Use your imagination to develop this mythical entity, and you will make some interesting discoveries. Plus you will develop a benchmark that allows you to see your customers, whether cash or trade, in a new way.

Then you can focus your marketing efforts where they will do the most good ... stabilizing and increasing your customer base by adding more A-customers.

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