How to identify your most valuable clients

Without clients you will not have a business. But it so often happens that too much time, effort and resources are spent on the wrong type of clients, who drain resources without adding much to the bottom line.

Change the cards by applying the following two guidelines:

1. Determine the profile of a valuable client.

You can do this by looking at the following attributes: 

  • Individual or business client
  • If a business client, how big is the business, how solid, how old?
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Industry
  • Client's interests
  • Buying patterns (which products do they purchase, where do they transact, when do they transact, how do they pay for their purchases?) 

2. Know what makes a client valuable.

  • They purchase high margin products/services
  • They pay the quoted price and do not squabble about the price
  • They order less frequently, but when they place an order, it is substantial
  • They keep their commitments – orders are not cancelled or changed
  • They pay timeously
  • They do not drain your after sales service capacity
  • If it's a business client, identify the ones who are expanding and will require more of your products/services
  • They are well connected and can be a valuable referral resource for your business

Clients must always be treated with respect and dignity, however, all clients are not equal and do not warrant the same level of engagement. It is a productive business principle to differentiate your service offering and level of engagement amongst clients, according to their level of value contribution to your bottom line.  


The content in this article was provided by Jannie Rossouw, Head: Sanlam Business Market. Sanlam is a diversified financial services group, headquartered in South Africa, operating across a number of selected global markets.

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