If there’s one thing you crave as a small businesses, it’s customers. Especially when you first set up – no customers equals no business. It’s hard.
So you’re pleased when people start throwing money at you because that means you can start paying the bills.
Or so you thought. Because clients aren’t all equal.
- Some moan about the most basic things.
- Some complain about the price.
- And worst of all, some think they can do the job better than you.
In fact, if only they had more time they would.
And they’re the ones that take up your headspace to the exclusion of all others.
Does that sound familiar? Would you do anything to change it? Chances are you’re just targeting the wrong clients.
You can’t and shouldn’t sell to everyone. It’s a fools errand. Because even if you did and they all turned up on your doorstep tomorrow, serving them would be a nightmare.
So you need to be a bit strategic.
What if you could attract the best customers for you? After all, it is your business. How about excluding the time wasters and tyre kickers that only make your life a misery?
You do that by creating customer avatars for each part of your business so you know who you’re targeting.
Most customer avatars are rubbish
Yes, most customer avatars miss the point completely. They don’t go into nearly enough detail and are merely pen portraits of perfect people who never have anything go wrong in their lives.
That is complete hooey because people’s lives are never perfect.
The point of a customer avatar is to uncover pain, hardship and suffering.
That’s the only way you can find out how you help them.
So it’s time to ask some deep questions.
Some of these will sound strange but they’ll be worth it. I get quite a lot of kickback from clients when I go through this process but I insist. I’m a hard taskmaster because I know it works. They thank me afterwards when they get into it (usually after about 20 minutes) because it’s a great way to recentre your message.
Who are you selling to?
Start with the demographics. Imagine a person. Who are they? What are they like?
But don’t just say “women aged between 25 and 45 with blond hair who go out on a Thursday night”.
If you want to unearth their problems, you’ll have to be far more specific than that.
Give them kids and a family, a job, an income, family relationships (is there potential for problems there?)
Do they have their own business or do they work for someone else? This will determine many of their priorities and the type of problem they have.
Give them a name, any name. Mine’s called Oscar. This is very important because it enables you to personalise your relationship with them and it will make it easier to get under their skin.
Once you’ve done that, go to Google Images and find a picture – even a celeb – it doesn’t matter which one because it’s just for you.
What’s their day like?
What happens when they get to work? Go into as much detail here as you like. The situations will vary from one business to another.
Does the phone start ringing as soon as they get in? Do people come to them with stupid problems?Are they putting out fires from the beginning of the day till the end? How do they deal with the things that get in their way? Are their responses adequate?
Are they able to solve their problems or are their lives a nightmare?
This is very important. It’s where their problems start to meet what you do.
You’ll have great fun with this so use your imagination, from the morning commute to drinks in the evening, what could come up?
Then ask THE most important question.
How can you help them with that?
What do they believe?
We’ve seen more and more recently that people are driven by what they believe. As human beings, we are guided be the stories we tell ourselves on our heads. Our cognitive biases govern the way we think about our lives and our businesses.
- What does your ideal client think about the world, their job and business in general?
- Do they think the government is out to get them?
- Do they just think that no-one can solve their problem? Is their thing is set in stone?
How can you help them with that?
What frustrates them?
We’re constantly frustrated by stuff.
- Deliveries not turning up on time.
- Clients not coming to meetings when they’ve promised they would.
- Poor customer service
The list goes on. Things just get in the way…it’s maddening!
Of course, this is an open goal for you. This is where your added value jumps in the save them.
What are they afraid of and what keeps them awake at night.
These are often more existential problems. Most business owners are afraid of failure. They’re afraid of their business failing or their lives failing. They’re also afraid of what people will think of them.
In day-to-day terms, my ideal client Oscar is a little overwhelmed. He doesn’t really know what he’s doing and he wants some direction.
Yours will be different but take some time over this. What terrifies your ideal client? How can you help them with that?
The answers will be like gold dust to your business.
If ever a client walks through your door with all the characteristics of your ideal client, it’ll be a fluke and won’t happen again. Your avatar is a target, not an absolute. It will help you attract the kind of people you want to work with and repel the ones you don’t.
This is just the tip of the iceberg.
You can also survey your customers, ask them all these questions to give you real information to see whether or not you’re on the right track.
You can have a look at places where people leave reviews, Amazon, Trip Advisor or if you really want to fall into a vortex, Mumsnet.
Working out what you’re selling and who you’re selling to is Marketing 101, things will be difficult if you don’t do this.
And answer the one question, how can you help them with that?
If you’d like help with that, book a 15-minute discovery call with me to take the first steps towards bringing your ideal customer to life and focussing on serving people you love and not those that get in your way.