Most businesses want more customers. Let me tell you why that can be a BIG mistake. More customers is not the same as the right customers. So while you’re wasting time busily trying to keep someone happy who doesn’t value you and never will, your ideal match could be walking right on by.
Your customers can make or break your business. They can motivate you, bring out your best work, rave about you to others like them, delight your employees and make you ‘cha-ching’ more profitable. Or they can do the opposite. What grates me is how little time most companies spend on understanding the engine that drives their business.
More often than not, when I ask a business to describe their ideal customer I hear things like, “Chicago brides” (in the case of a wedding planner), “Event Planners” (in the case of an event vendor) or “Fortune 500 companies” (in the case of a corporate event planner). General, blasé, unremarkable and totally non-actionable. By trying to appeal to such a vague and large group of people, you’re unable to speak in a language that captivates any one type of customer, you’re unable to tell them specifically what problem you’ll solve for them and you’re unable to tell them what goal you’ll help them achieve. The end result is that you’ll sound just like everyone else. This increases your competitive pool and the chances of you being seen as a commodity.
The only way you will attract your ideal customers is if you first create a crystal-clear picture of who they are.
|Name: Brie Smythe
Occupation: Retail Salesperson
Family: Engaged, no kids
|Brie Smythe is a style-obsessed 29 year old woman wishing she lived in a chic loft in Soho, but, with a humble retail sales income, she really lives with her parents in Torrington, CT. She watches Gossip Girl religiously, carefully taking note of how Serena and Blair pull together their looks. She does her best to emulate their styles while shopping at suburban big box stores like Target. She met her fiancee in high school – she was the pretty cheerleader and he was the football star. They have dreams of moving out of their small town once their married.|
See the difference?
The first is not only a snore-fest but it provides no clear insight into who your customer really is. The second paints a picture of her personality as well as her hopes, dreams and fears. I can now imagine which magazines she might read, which blogs she might subscribe to, and how to talk to her so that I cut through the clutter.
One of the greatest keys to success is better clients. Just one hour of your time can unlock the key to your idea customer profile. What you’ll need:
STEP 1: Make a list of your favorite clients (These are the clients that make you happy, you produce your best work with and often times are most profitable).
STEP 2: Make a list of your worst clients (Unlike to the first list, these clients are not enjoyable to work with, you often spend far too much time servicing them and feel unsatisfied at the end of the project or event).
STEP 3: Look for similarities. Once you have your two lists culled, identify what unifies the customers in each list using the following sub-categories:
Demographics – The statistical data about the customer:
Psychographics – How your customer thinks:
Behaviors – How your customer behaves:
STEP 4: Build your profile – From the information you’ve pulled together begin to build your ideal customer profile.
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Photo via annstheclaf