I was giving a presentation about small business marketing recently, and it was very interactive. The audience members asked questions and gave opinions, which is the way I like it. At one point, when we were discussing customer service, one person talked about how she gives each of her customers the same excellent service -- how she treats the person who spends $50 the same as the person who spends $5,000. This is very common among proud business owners and, on the surface, is very commendable. However, I think there may be another way to look at this -- a way that can get you more referrals to the right clients.

I believe that, to initiate the greatest word-of-mouth marketing, we need to give clients and customers a greater experience than they expect. It is these experiences that they tell others about.

Let's say a client purchases a $50 product or service from you, and the service just blows them out of the water. Now let's say someone comes in and spends $5,000 and you give them the same service. Although they may be pleased, it is not going to have the same effect on the second client because someone spending $5,000 has greater expectations than someone spending $50. So the result is you have someone who spends significantly less being more pleased than someone spending a great deal more.

Another point many business owners are proud of is that they treat their clients and customers the way they (the business owners) would like to be treated -- the Golden Rule. Is this the best thing to do? I don't think so. I believe that, for greatest results, we should treat others how THEY want to be treated.

We could dig real deep into this philosophy, but I don't think we have to do that to make the point. Take, for example, the different buying habits of men and women. The majority of men often want to "get in and get out," while the majority of women are more apt to "shop." To treat both of these groups the way you would want to be treated would be to lessen your effectiveness by at least 50%.

Some people are more pensive in their purchases, opting for less interaction, while others crave the interaction, asking questions and seeking advice, options, and opinions. Again, to treat these people the same or to assume that either wants to be treated the way you would like to be treated is not recommended.

The one exception is when treating others as you want to be treated refers to respect and courtesy. Every prospect and every client should be consistently treated with the utmost respect.

By the way, if you want to know how your clients want to be treated, simply ask them. You may, in fact, see a similarity in the responses of your most profitable clients. If so, address this, and you will be amazed how much business it garners for you.

Author's Bio: 

As a speaker, author and coach, Peter George helps self-employed professionals achieve the success they've been striving for. His highly-acclaimed More Clients More Profits Workbook includes contributions from van Misner, Bob Burg, Susan Roane, Scott Ginsberg & others. Want to start attracting more clients right away? Claim your free copy of "101 Ways to Attract More Clients" at =>