In previous articles we have discussed how important it is to work with the right customer. Working with the right customer is rewarding and fulfilling. When you work with the wrong customer, it is demoralizing and draining.

So how do you identify the right customer? I recently met with several local business owners and asked them to describe their best customers. This is what they said.

The best customers fully understand the nature of their current situation, and exactly how your service can help them. They consider the long-term benefits of finding a solution and compare that to the price they pay. This allows them to recognize the value of your service, and to appreciate it. Once they see the value of your expertise, they will not micromanage your every move.

The best customers understand there is a difference between price and value. Price is what you pay and value is what you get. You cannot offer the lowest price in your industry and provide quality and value at the same time. Do not try to be the low price leader. Find the customers who appreciate quality and value and are willing to pay for it. Customers who are price sensitive will not be loyal in the long run. They are always looking for the next good deal.

The best customers tend to be open minded to new solutions. They do not know everything, and they must be willing to learn from others. A dash of humility is a necessary ingredient in the recipe for the right customer.

Finally, it helps if they are honest and ethical. Most of us want to deal with people we can trust. That is especially important for long-term relationships.

Think of your very best clients. What qualities do they share? How can you find more people like them?

Bill Nordbrock is vice president of community relations for SCORE Southern Arizona, a nonprofit that offers free small-business counseling and mentoring by appointment. For information, go to southernarizona.score.org, send an email to mentoring@scoresouthernaz.org or call 505-3636.