How well do you know your customers?

Effective sales professionals can vividly describe their customers – down to the kinds of car they drive and what they like to do on the weekend. Building a customer profile is a powerful exercise that all small businesses need to do. Once you know who your customer is, growing them is a snap.

Here are a few simple steps to help you build your customer profile:

One: Understand who your ideal customer is and what similarities they have. Define your customers along the following criteria:

If your company is Business to Consumer (B2C):

  • Demographics – such as age, gender, income, education
  • Psychographics – such as attitudes, aspirations and values
  • Behavior – such as interests and hobbies

Business to Business (B2B) companies should also note characteristics of your ideal businesses to work with, including:

  • Type of business
  • Number of employees
  • Revenue
  • Geographic scope
  • Purchasing habits
  • Current vendors

Two: Find the places your customers gather – physical and virtual

  • What kind of event or place attracts them together in a group?
  • What are their Internet search habits?
  • For B2B, what trade shows do they attend?
  • What podcasts do they listen to?

Three: Understand their purchasing process

  • How do they research solutions?
  • What are their pain points?
  • Why are they seeking a solution?

For B2B think about:

  • Do they seek out referrals or make impulse purchases?
  • Who is the decision maker?
  • What is a typical budget?

Four: Connect with current customers. If you are still struggling with #1, conduct interviews and use survey tools to learn:

  • How did they originally find your company before contacting you?
  • Why did they originally buy from your company?
  • Why do they continue to buy from your company?
  • What do you and your company do that others don’t?

Five: Create profiles/personas that describe specific segments of your current clients.

Ensure that the profiles are detailed along demographics, psychographics and behavior characteristics, so that you can envision them and what would motivate them to find your business. Describe your clients in written profiles, called personas. Create a specific persona for each identifiable client group and name them.

These five simple steps will help you create a clearer picture of who you should be targeting. A strategy with an ideal customer in mind reduces the possibility of wasted marketing efforts.

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