What does the word mean to you?
According to Dictionary.com a customer is:
1.a person who purchases goods or services from another; buyer;patron.
2.Informal. a person one has to deal with: a tough customer; a cool customer.
Funny but, while its true, that a customer is a person who meets the criteria of noun, a real customer is actively engaged in the sales process with you and as such is not passively being served. While this definition does not either imply or deny this to be the case, its core to the definition, in my opinion, of what a real customer looks like and is.
How do you define a customer? Do you think of a customer as someone who gives you money? Or perhaps you think of a customer as someone who comes to realize they want something you can deliver?
Either way, you need to think of a customer as a co-participant to whatever it is you have to deliver as well as someone who pays you for it. How many people in your life want to be involved, step by step, in a process of discovery, lead by you, about the very thing you know the most about and then want to pay you for helping them through that experience outside of your customer? Maybe your family or someone you love might go through all that with you, but they don’t usually pay you for it. Who else OTHER than a customer do you know that could not be happier to do both?
This is what makes a real customer. They ask for the product or service you have to offer, they are willing to meet you half way to understand your process or contribute to it, and when you are all done showing them how to do it, they are so appreciative and happy they could not be happier to pay you.
To your highest purpose and best startup self, friends.
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