Identifying & Qualifying Customers

Identifying Customers

Who is your Customer? There are a variety of ways to find a customer:

  • Advertising Online
  • Trade Shows
  • Google Search
  • Industry Introduction 

Now you have a customer – what do you need to do?

Qualifying Customers

People think about risks with suppliers, but they often do not qualify their customers with the same standards – and you should! So what should you do?

Qualifying B2C Customers

If you are selling to individuals, it is often difficult to search for information about them, so your best defense is a strong payment system and clear product instructions to reduce the number of returns.

Use a well known payment system, do not accept payments from other countries, accounts with different names than your customer, etc. We will go into detail in a future lesson.

Make sure your return policy is clear. It’s good to have “terms and conditions” on your website / order platform that the customer has to read and accept before placing and/or paying for the order.

Qualifying B2B Customers

A customer can present themselves as an individual or store, but might actually be a distributor or competitor. It’s not only about confirming them for payment or that they have the ability to use your products effectively – there are a lot of reasons to check them out.

Perform basic research on their business.

  • Do they have a website?
  • Do they have a company email address, website, and phone number listed?
  • Do they have photos of their factory and / or products?
  • Does your product fit into their business? If you get an order from a Fire Equipment company and they want to buy 500 yards of PVD used in building furniture – it’s good to double check.

What do I need to know about the customer? You want to know about the customer’s management, what business they are in, etc.

Use a new customer form that includes the basics:

  • Company information
  • Production or Services they provide
  • Licenses to do business, pay taxes, etc.
  • Any specific capabilities they should have to use your products
  • Regulatory certifications and authorizations

Contact the Customer

Give them information about your company. You want to establish a relationship with them.

  • Name
  • Address
  • Location
  • Business
  • Contact person
Discussing Payment Terms and Shipping Options
Payment Terms
  • What payment terms are you looking for?
  • What are they willing to accept?
  • Typically, in a new business relationship companies start off with stricter payment terms. You can negotiate over time to improve the payment terms in your favor. 
Shipping Options
  • What port or airport are they closest to?
    • This will be important for getting quotes.
  • What type of cartons or packaging do they need?
    • Will that protect your product?
    • Do you want the individual product carton to be strong enough that you can take it out of the box and ship that individual product directly to the customer? If so, you need to specify the carton material requirement to the customer.