Someone asked me today what the ideal customer is, so that he could target similar companies. I answered in the form of a question: “Patient, stupid, bags of money?” Of course, that’s not true, those types of customers make you dumb and make you lose your edge.

The real question was about segmentation. How can you tell what your best customer type is? There are myriad formulas for that. You want to be in good good standing with your customers, so net promoter score matters. You want them the to pay their bills on time (low risk credit score). You want them to give you repeat business (customer retention; customer lifetime value). You want them to be low-maintenance, self-sufficient. Then you want to do some cohort analysis to see if you can identify other commonalities that will let you target a specific sub-segment of a market.

Blah blah blah…

Your best customers appreciate that you make them more money, and in return they help you make more money. Simple.

Your best customers are those who realize real value from your solution, and who acknowledge that by paying you back with sending new customers your way unsolicited; you are in a mutually beneficial relationship. Are you tracking this metric?

Once you’ve identified that segment, look inward to see what you are doing for them that makes them appreciate you. Other customers have the same solution but either aren’t realizing the same value, don’t know that they are realizing the same value, or realize it but still don’t send you new business. Why?

Ask yourself, what are you doing for those that send you new business? Have you trained them better than others to fully exploit the capabilities of your solution? Are you still nurturing them post-sale so that they feel appreciated and consider you a partner instead of a vendor?

It’s not what you are offering but what you are doing that makes the difference. Find that and make it scalable, and you’ll have found the key to riches.