The Definition Of An �A�
Customer...Cash Or Barter
By Bob Meyer
It�s not unusual for 70 to 80 percent of a firm�s cash business to
come from 10 to 20 percent of its customers�often referred to as �A�
customers. Yet don�t confuse your �A� customers as being only cash
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. A firm must keep asking itself which
category of clients is most important for both short-term and
An ideal �A� customer is one who makes the most significant
contributions to your bottomline. This is where your barter
customers contribute heavily because their trade business is
incremental business�extra business that can be the most 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 may place them up there in the �A�
category, because they contribute heavily to your bottomline
good marketing plan always looks forward. In addition to examining
the direction your industry is taking, ask yourself, �What am I
doing to incorporate the world�s fastest growing
way-of-doing-business into my organization�s plans?�
solid marketing plan identifies growth opportunities, as well as
innovative techniques. Barter is a marketing, purchasing, and
financing tool that offers you enormous profit opportunities. Your
decisions should be driven by such present and future opportunities.
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 that is important to your company�s future.
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 all your customers, whether cash or trade, in a
new way. Then focus your marketing efforts where they will do the
most good...stabilizing and increasing your customer base.