The Secret to Business Growth: Know Your Ideal Customer

“The aim of marketing… is to understand the customer so well the product or service sells itself.”  – Peter Drucker

By Loraine Kasprzak

The Secret to Business Growth: Know Your Ideal Customer
These tips and ideas can help you determine who your ideal customer is, which can help you grow your business.

I’ve asked many business owners who their target audience is. Many will tell me “everyone” – but that’s wrong! If you are targeting everyone, you are targeting NO ONE. You’re not using your time or resources effectively.You know what it’s like when someone is trying to sell you something that you have no interest in – you want to get away from that person as quickly as possible. But if you focus on solving the needs of a specific audience, you are more likely to get them to KNOW, LIKE and TRUST you – and you won’t have them running in the other direction.

The secret to building your customer base is to understand your IDEAL CUSTOMER. Without this insight, your marketing tactics will not attract more customers. More importantly, you won’t grow your business.

Al, a business development expert I know, explains to his new clients that not everyone is a prospect for their products or services. He illustrates this point by recounting a conversation he had at a dinner meeting, before he was introduced as the guest speaker:

The person to my left, Joe, was telling me how he has to convince his prospects they need his service. “And, they just don’t get it.”

As the conversation continued, Joe, not realizing I was the guest speaker, said to me, “By the way, what do you do?”

Al: I am a surgeon.

Joe: What do you specialize in?

Al: I removed gall bladders.

Joe: Oh, that’s interesting.

Al: I did my training at John Hopkins and I can tell you need gall bladder surgery.

Joe: No I’m fine.

Al: You may think so, but I know better, and as a surgeon I am telling you, you need surgery. If you come to my office tomorrow I will make the arrangements.

At this point Joe got a little irritated and said, “No, I don’t need surgery!”

Finally, says Al, “I admitted to Joe I was not a surgeon but was the guest speaker and I was trying to show him, you just can’t convince people what they need or what they need to do.”
“You have to start by knowing who your ideal prospect is and what they want – not what you want to sell them, if you really want to increase your sales volume and ultimately your profits,” Al emphasizes.

How do you determine who your ideal client is? Here are 6 factors I work through with my clients to develop an ideal client profile. I ask my clients to think about their best current clients:
How would they describe this person? Are they male or female? How old are they? Where are they located? Are they a business owner, or do they work for a corporation?

What does this client want – what does he or she value, fear, dream about? Do they want to impress the boss? Are they driven to succeed? Do they want to work fewer hours? Spend more time with family?

How does this person buy? Who is a part of their buying decision process (e.g., family members, management team, or their accountant)? Do they respond to sales presentations or informal discussions?

What is the best way to communicate with them? Are they on Facebook? Do they like to attend webinars? Or workshops? Do they prefer to be referred by a trusted professional?

Most importantly, what is their urgent need? What is it about your products or services will resonate with them, and address that need?

Once you know who your ideal customer is, what do you do with the information? These are among the tips Al offers:

  • Develop screening questions that can be used to capture data from prospects.
  • When you’re with a new prospect, ask these questions.
  • Measure the information you receive from the prospect against the ideal model.
  • Determine if the prospect has a compelling reason to do business with you.
  • Don’t waste your time trying to convince people they need you.

Who is your ideal customer? How do you address their urgent needs with your products or services? Please tell us in the Comments section below.

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