The wrong kind of customer can kill your business.
Most entrepreneurs start their business with a customer attraction philosophy of “bring ‘em on – the more, the better!”
As their businesses matured they realized that not all customers were created equal; some were more profitable, easier to work with and wanted long lasting relationships. Other customers beat them up on price, demanded impossible lead times and showed zero or negative profit.
Using the shotgun approach to getting customers might work for a while, but bringing on customers haphazardly is one of the most dangerous mistakes a business owner can make.
The challenge is identifying and defining your perfect customer.
What important qualities does your ideal customer have? (Don’t forget to include profitability.)
Your ability to clearly focus in and define the “right” customers is essential to your business success.
Here are some suggestions that may help: 1.Define your product or service from the customer’s point of view. What does your product do for your ideal customer? What problems does your product solve? What needs does your product satisfy? How does your product improve your customer’s life or work?
2.Define the ideal customer for what you sell. What is his or her age, education, occupation or business? What is his or her income or financial situation? What is his or her situation today in life or work? Don’t forget to consider hobbies.
3.Determine the specific benefits your customer is seeking in buying your product. Of all the benefits you offer, which are the most important to your ideal customer? What are the most pressing needs that your product or service satisfies? Why should your customer buy from you rather than from someone else?
4.Determine the location of your exact customer. Where is your customer located geographically? Where does your customer live or work? Where is your customer when he or she buys your product or service?
5.Determine exactly when your ideal customer buys your product or service. What has to happen in the life or work of your customer for him to buy your product? What time of year, season, month or week does your customer buy?
6.Determine your customer’s buying strategy. How does your customer buy your product or service? How has your customer bought similar products or services in the past? What is your customer’s buying strategy? How does your customer go about making a buying decision for your product?
I know some of you will read this list of questions and think “What I’m doing is working pretty well. Why do I need to know all that?” You’ll keep on doing what you’ve been doing all along and you may be just fine.
But if you actually work through the questions and seek clarity, you will attract more ideal customers. You will grow faster and you will have higher profit margins than your skeptical colleague.