How does this sound? Now you can save money, market more effectively and have others grow your business for you. What do you think about that? Fantasy! No, this is a very real scenario. Not only that, it can be yours.
In this article, you will find the steps that I use to help my clients understand their target markets. Not just understand them, but to talk to them about issues they face. To speak to them in their language, helping them fuel their desires and overcome their challenges. Yes, you can do this!
The first step is to get a clear picture of exactly who your clients are. Who are these people that are so instrumental to your business? And how are you going to get to know them?
While many people have a big challenge here, this is not that difficult. My suggestion is to speak with your customers, employees, vendors, industry professionals, other business owners, suppliers, etc. Actually, I would recommend talking with everyone and anyone who is in any way involved with the market are already servicing or the you want to service.
Maybe you are saying, “I don’t know any of these people.” To this I say, “Find them.” The very worst place to be is trapped on a desert island without resources. And by not talking with people that is exactly where you will eventually find yourself. If the people you need aren’t at your fingertips, go looking for them.
Where are they? They’re everywhere, but the easiest place to start is with your own customer base. Even if you have just one customer, you have some of the resources you need to get you started. Beyond your customers, you could scope out other people’s customers, chat up employees, both yours and someone else’s. Join networking groups, industry and trade associations.
I’ve even been known to sit outside businesses watching their clientele, come and go. Are they driving BMWs or KIAs? Are they dressed up or down? Are they leaving with shopping bags or empty handed? What are their busy times and when is it slow? All of this information, gathered without speaking with anyone, is very valuable.
If you’ve decided to talk with your clients. Great! The challenge now lies in what to say… I would start with a casual conversation about something current, like the weather, the kids or an upcoming event. The goal here is to not dive right into your product or service. This isn’t an interrogation, it’s a chat. Focus on open ended questions and try to keep your opinion on the back burner, for now. During these dialogues offer vague details about your life, this lets the other person feel closer to you. The more comfortable they feel with you, the more they will open up.
Your interest in the details of their lives goes a long way here. You’re looking for are any clues about their life. It could as simple as what books, magazines and periodicals they read or as pinpoint as where they live, work and what schools their children attend. This is important information if you are considering promotions or advertising. It also offers insights about where to start if you want to get articles written about you or your business. If a press release is in your future, you’ll know which of the newspapers your customers are reading.
As they are speaking, see if you can pick up on their accent, socio-economic background and their level of education. This will offer clues to their viewpoints, political views, personal and professional aspirations. Often having a clear picture of a person’s desires is more powerful than knowing the reality of their daily lives.
Look for visual clues that place them in certain groups. A client that drives a Mercedes is different than a client who drives a Chevy. Not just the price of the vehicle, but also the model and how the car is maintained, holds valuable information about them. A customer who drives a Mercedes could be trying to communicate status, or they could actually be very frugal. One person might be buying their station in life and the other may have shopped for value. The driver of the Chevy might love muscle cars or could be driving his son’s car because it was the last one in the driveway. The former could be nostalgic and into power and the latter might have a relaxed and easy going personality. All of seemingly random acts could be providing information about the thought processes a person uses to make buying decisions.
At this point I gather and track as much information as possible. I create a “persona” of my best clients and then cater to them. I communicate this to all staff members, vendors and anyone else that is helping or supporting me in the “care and feeding” of my customers.
Going a step further, I also look for ways to surprise and delight my clients. The more you can get to know your target market, the easier it will be to make them happy. Once you have them happy, they will be singing your praises to all their friends. And as we know people are the average of the five people they spend the most time with. That’s great news for any business owner who has a awesome group of overly satisfied customers. Your current customers will act as your sales team, bringing in droves of new and eager customers hungry for the terrific service that their friends are getting.
The best part is that you will know exactly how to take care of these new customers because you figured it out with their friends. Now, you and just concentrate on managing your rapidly expanding business.