Whether you succeed brilliantly or fail unnecessarily in your business will be heavily influenced by two factors:
1. Avoiding packing your customer list with people ill-fitted with your message, business and the solutions you can provide, and
2. Attracting loads of your Ideal Customers
If you ignore these critical concepts, you may as well be throwing money down the drain as you attempt to bring customers in the door and keep them from either leaving or staying and causing customer service headaches. You can waste a lot of time and money getting in front of the wrong prospects, costing you thousands of dollars and potentially years of lost time. In order to be in business, of course you need to have customers who are willing and able to pay you for the products and services you provide, but you want your customers to be as close as possible to an ideal match for you and your business.
This may seem obvious, but it’s amazing how many businesses have failed because they forgot this concept and decided that everyone is a potential client. Maybe, like happened with me years ago, a “top sales expert” once told you that “if they’ve got a pulse, they’re a potential customer.”
Please write this truth on a piece of paper where you can see it every day while you work:
If you can’t “get inside your customer’s head”, your emails, marketing messages and programs won’t connect at all or not at a deep enough level to keep your customers coming back again and again. You’ll end up wasting your time and money targeting clients who don’t have the problem you can solve and won’t buy what you’re offering.
You must figuratively turn yourself into your customer and create your messages and learning curriculum from that space. Dive deep into your customers’ minds, their emotions, their motivations, their lifestyles in order to understand them, create products and programs that serve them and connect with them so intimately that they think, “How did she know how I feel? She gets me! And she may just have the solution I’m looking for.” Using this strategy is also how you turn average customers into Raving Fans who happily buy practically everything you offer.
I’ve outlined below 3 Critical Keys to Identifying and Connecting with Your Ideal Customers, each with a series of questions to help you dig deeper and discover exactly who your Ideal Customer is. Although you likely serve a wide variety of customers, when answering these questions you want to imagine one, single Ideal Customer you would like to have more of. Also, hold in mind this question: Anyone probably could benefit from your particular product or service, but who would benefit the most?
1. Identify Your Ideal Customer and Her Problems and Challenges.
You don’t have to serve everyone; you only need to serve your Ideal Customers. Having too broad of a message will dilute its effectiveness and power. As Marie Forleo says, “If you’re talking to everybody, you’re talking to nobody.” Questions to gain clarity:
- Who specifically do you want to help?
- What are her demographics and what kind of lifestyle does she lead?
- What challenges and problems does she face?
- What issues or situations create a sense of urgency for your customer?
- Has she tried solving her problem before and wasn’t able to do it? If so, what kept her from being successful?
2. Understand Your Ideal Customer’s Current Buying Behavior.
Everyone forms routines and habits, even with purchasing decisions. To better position your product or service and engage your Ideal Customer, you need to identify what she already buys and brands she loves. Questions to gain clarity:
- What kind of products and programs does your Ideal Customer usually buy?
- Who else is selling to her?
- What companies and brands does she love?
3. Determine your Ideal Customer’s Buying Motivations and Criteria.
Purchasing decisions at their core are emotional decisions and rooted in our personal core values. For example, if you’re an animal rights advocate, no matter how cold it is outside, you’re likely not going to buy or wear a real fur coat because doing so would violate your personal values and beliefs. Questions to gain clarity:
- When looking at the products, programs and brands you identified in Question 2, what core beliefs and values are associated with them? What do they stand for?
- What are common threads or components among them?
- What does your Ideal Customer most value as a consumer?
- What will your Ideal Customer pay for based on her problems and values?
- What emotional drivers motivate her buying decisions?
- What are her buying criteria?
As you progress in your business and gain additional insights into your Ideal Customer, you can come back to this exercise, update it and expand upon the information. Or perhaps at some point in the future you’ll even change your Ideal Customer profile because you and your business have grown and evolved. It’s also a great idea to complete this exercise and a detailed Ideal Customer profile for each new offering you have if your target audience changes significantly.
The goal is to really see the world through your customer’s eyes and identify the top-of-mind problems and pain points. Then, you can swoop in and provide the perfect solutions! In order to do that, you must figuratively turn yourself into your customer and create your messages and product or service offerings from that space. Dive deep into your customers’ minds, their emotions, their motivations, their lifestyles in order to understand them, create products and programs that serve them and connect with them so intimately that they think, “How did she know how I feel? She gets me! And she may just have the solution I’m looking for.” Using this strategy is also how you turn average customers into Raving Fans who happily buy practically everything you offer.
By intimately getting to know your Ideal Customer, you can help her more... and that's key to helping more people and making more money. When you help people more, they buy more of what you have to offer, pay more for it and send other Ideal Customers like them your way... and everybody benefits.