Why Every Customer Is a 'Million Dollar Customer' How many times have you as a customer felt as though you were putting a salesperson out by asking for assistance or interrupting them as they were engaged in a personal conversation with a co-worker or friend? I can recall times I've actually said to different store clerks, who were either fully engaged in telling their co-workers about the wild party they attended over the weekend or the big fight they had with their husband, "I'm sorry to bother you, but do you have this in my size?" and have them look at me as if I had just shattered the most important moment in their life. Have you ever had an experience like this? Many years ago when competition was almost non-existent for many businesses, consumers accepted this type of behavior because they didn't have many options to choose from. Business owners had the upper hand and could charge the prices they wanted without having any real concern for whether or not the customer was truly satisfied or had their need fully met. Today, competition is fierce, particularly with the power of the Internet and expanding global markets. If a consumer doesn't like the product or service, or has a bad experience, all she has to do is tuck her credit card back into her purse and take her pick of any number of other businesses who will gladly give her what she's looking for. She doesn't even have to leave her home if she doesn't want to! She can shop online from thousands of vendors who will gladly deliver the goods right to her doorstep. What does this new reality of conducting business mean to you as a small business owner or home-based entrepreneur? It means you have to provide exceptional customer service and top quality products if you want to build long-term relationships with your clients and customers. If you have employees, it is also critical that they understand the importance of making each customer feel like a million dollar customer. It's all about the experience you provide -- the feeling your customer has when doing business with you. Get to know your customers. Find out what they're looking for and why by asking questions, then really listen to what they say. Make it a point to truly understand what it is they want to create or solve, then if you can provide a solution, offer it to them. Building a successful, profitable business is dependent on establishing long-term, loyal customers. Having to pursue new customers to replace those who are not returning can become tiring and expensive. As you serve new and existing customers and clients, make them feel heard, seen and valued. No one likes to be invisible, especially those who are about to hand over their hard earned money. Treat every customer like a million dollar customer because when you build a long-term relationship with them, they just might very well become one.