August 4


Three Kinds of Customers… Warning: One Can Take You Down!

By Michael Q. Pink

August 4, 2014

business, core accounts, customers, genesis, key accounts

To succeed in business and sales, you should be intentional about gaining knowledge in these seven key areas: (1) yourself (2) your target market (3) your company (4) your product or service (5) your competition (6) your industry (7) selling skills

We’ve already discussed 15 things you should know about yourself, so let’s move on to number two, your target market. This one is huge.  Basically, there are three kinds of customers and only two of them are desirable. The first one is what I call, the…

Sympathy Account – Weeds

Weeding The Garden

A lot of financial planners find themselves dealing with these. They are the folks with massive consumer debt, little or no assets, marginal income and no plan or idea of how to come out of that cycle. They end up calling a financial planner when what they need is a debt counselor such as Crown Financial. In an agricultural sense, these are vines and weeds that choke out the intended harvest of grains, vegetables and fruit.

Financial planners do things like retirement planning, investment strategies and succession strategies. That is their profession and how they make their living. They are not debt counselors. But what happens is that they have sympathy for the person drowning in debt and so they help them. Word gets around and the next thing you know, they are the one with financial issues. If they choose to help them, that’s fine, but they should understand that is not business – it is charity, and treat it accordingly.

If I did all my training for free because I really want to help people, I wouldn’t be in business long. I personally have really struggled with this because I know that people who need help the most, typically have the least resources. That’s why I am offering a partial scholarship for the MPI Christian Business Institute that I hope to launch this month. I also have an affiliate program which could easily pay for a student’s participation.

Whether it’s a partial scholarship or an affiliate program, it’s a win/win for both of us. As you will see when you come to the webinar, I’m really doing something I learned in the rainforest, called the Brazil Nut Effect. It’s where instead of currency, you exchange true value and both parties are better off. I am anxious to get this going but am working on technical capabilities behind the scenes.

Core Accounts – Grains & Vegetables

Wheat Field HorizontalThe second type of customers are what I call, your “core accounts”. They represent roughly 80% of your customer base, but deliver only 20% of your total revenue. They are the ones who deliver your “base hits” to use a baseball metaphor. They are your bread and butter and what keeps the doors open. In my Genesis for business series, I refer to them as grains and vegetables.

They are what sustain you while you work on the bigger opportunities.  You should identify their profile and market to them differently than you would the next group. Where do they live? What is their demographic? What matters to them? As important as these customers are, you cannot live on bread alone.

Key Accounts – Fruit Trees

Red apples on apple tree branchYou need what I call, “key accounts”.  They represent less than 20% of your customers.  In Genesis 1:12 we see these represented as the fruit trees. They take longer to develop than the grains and vegetables we see in Genesis 1:11, but once they start producing, they deliver a handsome return. This is all explained in the 3rd day of creation teaching in my Genesis series, but will be expanded and updated in the Christian Business Institute.

These accounts typically require more resources to service and take longer to win but will come to represent 80% of your revenues. You should develop a profile that uniquely describes them and market accordingly. Don’t make the mistake of only going after them to start with or you will end up like the farmer who planted an orchard and died of hunger waiting for the harvest. Grow your grains and vegetables while nurturing your fruit trees. Make sense?

Until next time, be fruitful and multiply!

Michael Q. Pink

About the author

Michael is America's leading authority on applying Biblical Wisdom and Natural Law to sales and business and has authored 19 books including The Bible Incorporated, Selling Among Wolves and God's Best Kept Secrets. Using that knowledge, he has helped thousands of professionals and entrepreneurs experience radical transformation in their lives and careers, including helping a start-up with 3 struggling sales reps turn the corner and become the 16th fastest growing company on the INC 500 list. 

  • Hi Michael,

    Thank-you again for your analogies and metaphors in articulating specific target markets and how to view them, plant, water, fertilize, nurter, weed and harvest them.

    Very practical and doable.


  • Wow this is amazing, I just recently became aware of this situation in my business. I also use to struggled with the fact that I didn’t want to say no to helping people, but as I helped I found that my work was increasing but our income decreasing. The Lord brought clarity to my heart sometime ago in prayer which brought me peace to decisions I had difficulty making in the past. I would have to say as my wife said to me one day, we are NOT running a “non profit organization”, our Responsibility is to run a business. Thanks again for your insight and teachings. May God continue to provide you with more Wisdom, God Bless.!

    • Hi Jose;

      I came to that solid conclusion just a few months back. I wanted to give everything away, just so I could help folks. Then I realized there was a difference between my business and my ministry. I need to run my business profitably so I can fulfill my ministry abundantly. Now I have a way to help folks who need help while still maintaining profitability on my business side.

      Thanks for posting Jose!

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