Recently, I was chatting with a small retail business owner. We were discussing why customers were not coming through the door and buying her products.
I asked her, "What is your ideal customer?"
She shrugged, indicating that she was not sure who her ideal customer is. She spread her hands which told me that maybe this was something was not necessarily thought about prior to going into business. Basically, there was a desire to have a retail outlet and there is certainly a niche, however, the business planning, communication planning and marketing planning stages may not have been considered as deeply as they need to be to allow for small business success.
Thinking about who your ideal client or customer is can be a challenging exercise as you really have to delve into their minds, their needs, their problems before you can offer a solution.
This conversation was quite an eye opener for me as I realised that this small business owner may not be the only one out there who do not truly understand the market that they are trying to reach and influence to not only come into the shop but walk out as a happy and proud owner of their product.
It hit me. Maybe I could be of service to this person and her business through helping her to understand what her perfect customer/client looks like so that when she does meet them, they not only come into her shop, they buy products and then go out into their social circles and begin to advocate on her behalf. That is gold and worth thinking about as people talk and people recommend and people act on friend recommendations.
I spent some time contemplating this idea and how I could be of service to small business through helping them to become clearer on what it is that they want out of their clients/customers through asking questions that will make them think and create a great communications/marketing plan.
Here are just a few of the questions that I ask my clients to help them get clarity:
Describe your perfect client/customer? Think of the attributes they have and describe them.
What sex are they? This is important to know as this will help determine how you approach communicating with them.
What age group does your client/customer fall into? Again, if you are pitching to middle-aged women, but all your products appeal to teenagers, then there is a lack of congruency there and you will need to re-think your product line or your ideal client/customer.
What is your ideal client/customer's earning capacity? Are they unemployed? Are they minimum wage? Are they millionaires? This will help inform the price and quality of what you offer and it gives you the power to choose who you want to sell to or help. It is important to think this through as people gravitate towards the products and services that match the image of who they are financially inside their minds.
As a Podcast Interviewer, I need to get to know the people behind the product/service as often their unique selling proposition is their personal style or personality. The person is the brand. In order for me to help my client's shine, I need to know how they are are and what they want out of the session and then we need to flesh out exactly what their clients/customers need and want so that we can tailor the discussion around fulfilling the needs, desires and solving pains and problems.
I think it is important to truly care about the person behind the product/service and in turn to care about the people who are coming to my clients for help.
It is my aim to help my clients in shining their special way of helping and servicing so that their personal and professional brand and business will go from strength to strength.
Here is a very valuable video to help you build rapport with your clients/customers by Brian Tracy.