Building a business requires you to finding customers. If you want to really GROW your business, its about finding the RIGHT customers. After all, the old saying still holds true, it’s not what you know, it WHO you know.
We are social creatures. We develop relationship. We want to connect with people that have similar interest and speak the same language. We are created with an innate desire to connect and form meaningful relationships.
This reality of human nature is not voided by business. We do business with people we trust. We rely on friends and families to help inform us of honest people, good products, and valuable services. It is part of the reason why social media is such a vibrant medium.
Therefore, we must have an understanding our who are customer is in order to develop a relationship and build trust. It is this simple fact that helps small businesses grow.
Know Your Ideal Customer
No matter how great your product or service, you CANNOT be all things to all people. There is a limited number of people who are qualified to be your customer. Notice I said qualified! Just because someone can or will buy your product or service, does not necessarily mean you want them as a customer. You’ve all had that customer who wanted something for nothing or cost you more time and energy than they were willing to pay. This is not a qualified customer and unless you KNOW YOUR CUSTOMER, you are limited in how you can market to them.
It’s Not Just Demographics
Marketing 101 is know your customer. The first thing you need to do to successfully grow your business is to develop an ideal customer profile. Most people can speak generally about their customers. You know the basic demographic. Your customer is male between 18 – 30, married, no children, earn between $55,000 and $75,000, typically a home owner, etc. You don’t do business with demographics, you do business with individual people.
The problem with demographics, is they are to generic and to vanilla. It’s like saying you know Paris Hilton because you read an article about her in People. Having the general “details” about a customer is not giving you enough information to really target your message and brand. You need to really understand them. In order to really cultivate a valuable customer relationship, you need to speak to them in their language about their concerns or objections. You must know your ideal customer. Therefore, you need a customer profile.
Let Me Introduce you to David
My ideal customer has been in business for 3 years or more. I’ve named my ideal client David, which helps me really speak and think of a person rather than a “profile.” David’s business has grown past the “startup” phase and have began to turn their attention to growth. His business is making money, but recognize he is missing some key ingredients to make the transition to profit. He has a family and wants to spend more time with them while making sure he can provide for them. David is comfortable with computers and technology and really understands the value it brings to his business.
David is focused on spending time growing his business and realizes the need for a quality website and marketing strategy that sets his business apart from the competition. He understands the value to his business and is not looking to cut corners for the sake of saving money. He spends for a return and is willing to invest.
This is who I like to do business with. David is my ideal customer. He makes doing business a pleasure. We like working together. We understand each other. He has learned through our relationship that I’m not taking advantage of his trust and he really values my contributions to his business. We have a good working relationship and it is due to having a clear understanding of my customer and recognizing the long term benefit of relationships.
Your Customer Profile
To develop your customer profile, spend some time identifying your most profitable customers. Look through your records and identify the customers that are the best clients you have. You know the ones. They spend money with you because they trust you, they like what you offer. The customers or clients see what you offer as an investment in their lives or business and understand what you offer. They are not grinders. It’s the customers you wish all of your customers where like.
John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing offers several question to think through as you develop that picture perfect ideal customer. Ask the following type of questions about these customers:
- What brings them joy?
- What are their challenges?
- What are their long term goals?
- What experiences makes them excited?
- What are their hobbies?
These kinds of questions cause you to look deeper into your customer. You begin to get a clear picture of your ideal customer. It helps if you can actually create avatars to represent them, give them a name. Do you do business with John or Sam? You need to really have a clear picture of who you are servicing in your business.
Communicate to This Client ONLY
Now that you know who your ideal client is and what they want, you can begin tailoring your business message to meet their needs. You can marketing information that connects with them. You can use language and terms that they are familiar with. Your objective is to communicate directly to this customer in a way that promotes a relationship. You want to connect with them. You need to feel familiar.
This helps break down barriers and remove objections to doing business with you. After all, it’s not what you know, it’s WHO you know. And when you really have an understanding of who you want to do business with, you can target all of your marketing material to that customer. Know your customer.
Now that you have determined who you need to market too, take some time to develop some action. Answer these questions as it pertains to your business and your potential client.
- How can you BEST serve the needs of your IDEAL CUSTOMER? What are they going to miss out on if they choose to do business with your competitor? (Think about YOU!)
- What else do they need help with? Who can you partner with to provide this solution? (Potential joint venture)
Who’s your ideal customer? Tell us in the comments. . .