Client vs. Customer

There seems to be a big difference between a client and a customer. A client is someone who takes full advantage of a professional’s services. It has the cognation of someone with whom you have actively engaged, whether officially documented or not, a person has chosen to work with you and appreciates all that you can offer. A client is relying on you to provide for them the service that they expect from you in your expertise. They rely on your daily email, your marketing material, on your content marketing, your information in order that they can make an educated purchase.

Now, a customer has a slightly different connotation to the term as merely someone who detachedly purchases goods or a service, in other words a patron. In real estate, my idea of a customer is someone who just calls the office and asks for prices and availability and then hangs up.

Understanding this difference can make a huge impact on your networking. We need to determine ahead of time just exactly how we want to treat people and make every effort to be aware of how we may come across to our potential clientele when we call them and find out what information they need and inquire what their expectations are of us. Understand how one might treat a client versus a customer. Ideally, it should always be the same. Both client and customer alike deserve respect and our full attention and a best possible effort put forth on their behalf. Their response to you will be better, their desire for your information will be better, and the reception of your information will be better. It will be an all around better experience for all involved. Know what the clients’ and customers’ expectations are how they can tend to be treated differently. Or we can determine to view them both and pursue them both with equal tenacity so that ultimately a mere customer has the full opportunity to become a client.

This content is not the product of the National Association of REALTORS®, and may not reflect NAR's viewpoint or position on these topics and NAR does not verify the accuracy of the content.