Next Step: Know Thy Customer

By Renée Gotcher, WriteWords Ink

Who is your ideal customer? Yes, anyone with money can buy your product or utilize your service, however not everyone does — do you know why? And why do your best customers choose you over your competition?

It’s critical to narrow down the ideal customers for your business geographically, demographically and psychographically — before you can learn how to effectively reach out to them.

Here’s a helpful exercise that can help you begin to define your ideal client:

  1. Think of your top ten customers and identify some obvious qualities or factors they have in common.
  2. How would you describe them geographically? (Local, national, global? Rural, urban? How will they buy from you?)
  3. How would you describe them demographically? (sex, age, ethnicity, family status, occupation, education, etc.)
  4. How would you describe them psychographically? (attitudes, values, lifestyles, opinions, qualities, etc.)

Do your Homework

Now that you’ve started to form the basis for your “ideal customer” profile, based on what you already know about them, it’s time to fill in the gaps by talking to your customers.

Start by interviewing your top 10 customers. Ask them what they like most about doing business with you, why they refer you (if they do), what would inspire them to refer you (if they don’t), what value your product/service adds to their lives, and what, if anything, you could improve to serve them better.

Depending on the scope of your buiness and the location of your top clients, you may not always be able to do this in person, but if you can, even better: Body language says as much, if not more, than their verbal responses.

Then compare what your customers had to say about you and your business to the ideal customer profile you created on your own. What were you right about? Where are you completely missing the boat? What research or resources can you tap into so that you can begin to fill in those gaps and better communicate your business message — and attract more ideal clients?

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Renée Gotcher has been working with women’s business organizations for the past eight years. She was president of the Portland Pearl BNI Chapter, a board member of WEO (Women Entrepreneurs of Oregon), and a founding member of Portland Mamas Inc. prior to moving to Durango in 2007 and launching the Durango Business Women’s Idea Exchange in 2008. As a sales director for Mary Kay, she mentored a team of more than 50 women toward entrepreneurial success. She is the founder of WriteWords Ink.

© 2012 WriteWords Ink — Renée Gotcher