This Is What Selling To The Wrong Customers Looks Like

Just because a certain group of customers buy from you, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re the ones you should be selling to. Similar to any human relationship, the relationships your business creates with its customers hold a lot of nuance.​

For example — you can consider someone a friend, but find aspects of them challenging. You can call someone your best friend, but only talk to them 3 times a year. You can go spill your soul to someone during a multi-week retreat and consider them just an acquaintance.​

The same applies to your customers — even if a certain type of customer buys from you, they can still be the wrong customer for your business. Sales aren’t, and shouldn’t be the only KPI to determine that the customer relationships your business builds areworking for you.​

Here are some telltale signs that you’re selling to the wrong customers.​

They only show up when there’s a sale

Unless you’re a Walmart-style brand and your identity is all about discounts, you cannot scale when the majority of your customers only buy from you when you’ve discounted your prices during a sale.

Discounted revenue isn’t a building block to scale or growth. If you’ve built your business around customers who prioritize prices above all else, it means that they’ll leave you as soon as a competitor swoops in at a meaningfully lower price.​

To fix this, do some soul searching into what your brand’s best feature is (besides its sale prices) and build fanfare around that through your marketing.​

They ghost you

If a shopper ghosts you as soon as you try to close the sale, or there’s some form of chasing involved to get your customers to rally around you — this is not a customer who is going to stick with you for the long term.​

If you have a customer who truly admires your business’ products or services they will wait in long lines, be the first to buy as soon as you release something new, or rave about your business to their friends for free.

If your business doesn’t provoke any of this, it means that you’re building your business on sand, not concrete. Every sustainable business has a bedrock of die-hards that it’s anchored to.

To address this, find a customer that has bought from you in the past who is a superfan (if you don’t have any, reflect on what’s lacking from your offering that’s not stimulating that level of obsession) — study them, map out all of their characteristics, and focus your work on finding customers who are just like them.

They don’t respect you

When buying from a startup, we are all aware that there are real humans behind that operation who should be treated with respect.

If your customers are constantly prompting returns for absurd reasons and nagging you with outrageous requests — respectfully cut ties from these relationships. So many businesses normalize the “customer is always right” sentiment and mask the problematic behavior of a customer who doesn’t respect the business.

Fix this by practicing saying no and defining your business’ boundaries. Use it as an opportunity to let your dream customers shine amongst your non-ideal ones.

For more wisdom that turns your startup chase into a victory lap, get my Friday morning emails, (lovingly called The Crux) in your inbox.



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Sophia Sunwoo

Sophia Sunwoo


I create moneymaking brands with womxn entrepreneurs who refuse to settle for mediocre.