Where’s Your Index Customer?

The current ebola outbreak sees infections for the first time appear beyond Africa.

I wondered why the travelling Liberian struck down by the virus in Dallas was referred to as America’s Index Patient.

The only such epidemiological phrase I was familiar with at the time was Patient Zero.

Unburdened by the restrictions of med school, I gather index patient and patient zero are one and the same:

The primary case of a disease discovered. Typically that which caused subsequent spread.

Perhaps it’s time to reclaim this phrase for a positive, selling purpose.

In solution selling, I’ve used many such descriptions for the vital task of gaining your first customer. Most often in respect of first for a new product.

Footprint, Anchor, Lighthouse.

Although each of these has its own slight yet distinctive nuance.

Footprint suggests you’ve got your foothold into a new market (or geographic) segment.

Anchor is a client upon who’s name you can leverage significant credibility.

Lighthouse helps you develop and entrench your product’s capabilities.

Seasoned sellers may indeed have subtle differences themselves on these also.

So I wonder if an Index Customer introduces another variant.

Building on from an anchor – where it is you making all the play, pretty much in isolation – perhaps your index client is the one who actively encourages others to follow and sign up.

This could be by means of integrating what you offer so tightly into their operations that those working closely with them become mandated to also come aboard.

It could be simply by proactively urging others to join the party.

At either pole, I sense it could mark any sales activity that is more of a combined, collaborative effort.

Making an Index Customer is a very powerful and highly desirable outcome.

In which case, where’s this Index for your latest shiny new wares located right now?

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