Sales Semantics

Everyone and their uncles would like to believe they serve “clients”. Customers are so old school and tacky, not nearly as refined as hoity-toity clients. Spare me.

Lawyers and accountants serve clients. Medical professions serve patients. Retailers serve consumers. The arts have patrons. Information technology serves users. Practically everyone else serves good, old-fashioned, customers. If we’re describing a group of customers it may be acceptable to refer to them, collectively, as clientele.

The real rub, for me, is the elevated, special status we’re trying create for ourselves when we describe our customers as “clients”. It’s not about great customer service; it’s about projecting an exclusive image. Even pedicurists believe they have clients. They’re washing other people’s feet, does it get more basic? I suppose it could, but then the client becomes a john.

As a self-employed micro business owner, I’m eliminating clients from the marketing semantics. I much prefer good, old-fashioned, paying customers.

About elroyjones

Married, no children, responsibly self-directed, living happily.
This entry was posted in Autonomy and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Sales Semantics

  1. ridafatima says:

    hahaha… so beautifully u presented this behavior of society towards clients…. 🙂

  2. Now I feel guilty about looking for readers.

  3. webnerbob says:

    EJ, I could not agree with you more — and not just because I’m a lawyer. I’m sick of the absurd lengths to which people go to gussy up their job titles, positions, etc. What’s wrong with serving a customer, or holding down a sales job? If people would pay more attention to actually doing their jobs and doing them well, and less attention to trying to come up with fancier words to describe their occupations, they might just be more successful.

    • elroyjones says:

      Very good to hear from you, WB. Yes, more work less grandstanding. I worked in the administrative offices at a hospital and the place was overrun with “Directors”; banking was the same, an abundance of Assistant Vice Presidents and a dearth of common sense.

  4. Misslisted says:

    This is funny. I work in a clinic, so we have “patients”, and I teach yoga, so I have “students”, but when I do private yoga sessions with people, I don’t really know what to call them. Occasionally I say “client” but it always sounds so pretentious. Other times I say “student” but that sounds sorta egotistical to me, especially for a one-on-one, because who IS really doing the teaching anyway? So I often just call them “patients”, but I think it’s slightly demeaning. Plus they usually aren’t very patient, and that’s why they’re coming to see me!

    • elroyjones says:

      Thanks very much for your comment, I really appreciate your time.
      Learning is often reciprocal in the student-teacher relationship. It doesn’t seem the least bit egotistical to describe your customers as students. In fact, the reverse would be true for me. I’d be flattered to hear myself described as a student because it implies there are things I am interested in learning.

      • Misslisted says:

        That’s true. I never mind being called a student either. I think it’s just that I still sometimes feel like I’m play-acting at being a grown-up, let alone a teacher…

  5. gkinnard says:

    I laughed so hard I spit out my chips and salsa when I read your third paragraph—esp. the end. I love it!

  6. Pingback: Sequestration Yawn | elroyjones

  7. I do try to elevate my followers to minions… HA!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s