Operations

Client Profiling Can Help You Identify the Best Customers

Sara Eastwood
Posted on July 1, 2005

In a recent conversation with Cheryl Berkman, president of Music Express, I posed the question, “In your opinion, what is the best type of client an operator can have?” She said something very interesting that I thought I’d pass along to you. Cheryl’s answer was, “The best customers are corporate clients who use our service to provide service to their clients.”

Now this may be stating the obvious but it honestly never occurred to me to consider this as a component to profile a chauffeured transportation client. I pressed on by then asking Cheryl for examples. She said, “Clients such as law firms, ad agencies and brokerage houses are excellent accounts and there are a ton of them out there. These types of businesses use our service to accommodate in some way their own customers – whether it is a pick-up at the airport or for entertainment purposes. We love these kinds of accounts because they care so much about quality and that is because their own reputation rides on it!”

Client profiling is a rather new concept and one that can help you sell better. There are many, many different types of people and companies needing service. Service level expectations widely differ too.

Take a large corporation that uses the bulk of the transportation budget on their own employees, for example. How much are you really going to get their travel purchaser to care about quality of service for their middle managers? More likely, price is going to be of top concern in this scenario.

If you are mindful of this going into the sale, it may help you to structure your deal differently. I suggest you get into the habit of asking your clients to break out in percentages the amount of your work that will go to servicing their clients to measure against that which goes to senior management on down to sales manager levels at the company. I also recommend that you direct your sales force to consider a target market approach to capturing those types of accounts who, as Cheryl Berkman put it, use your service as a means of servicing their clients.

The National Law Journal (www.nlj.com) conducts an annual survey on law firms and ranks the top 250 in the nation. That would be a good place to start with prospecting to that market. The University of Texas at Austin publishes Advertising World (http://advertising.utexas.edu/world), which is one of the most extensive collections of advertising-related links on the Web. It provides links to associations, ad agencies and PR firms.

Universities with all of their alumni programs are another great market. The Internet is a phenomenal business tool when it comes to quick research. Just Google “brokerage firms in the U.S.” and you will find plenty of directories for stocks and bonds trading companies.

As the cover of this issue attests, this is our annual fleeting ranking issue. And yes, it is the one issue we publish that everyone loves to hate, but I assure you our editorial staff did everything possible to verify the fleet size claims that operators made. Please review our methodology page for the expanded version on just what went into making sure our data was accurate. We are human, so all whistle-blowers who have factual information that a company did misrepresent itself, please feel free to contact us.

Enjoy the rest of your summer and happy reading.

Sincerely, Sara Eastwood

 

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