How Does a Small Business Identify an Ideal Customer?

smart5In life, we struggle to find the time to make the connections with the people we would like. This concern often spills into our business lives with the sheer mass of the customers to which we have access. We want to flourish in our business and our lives without feeling like we are pulled apart in hundreds of directions, but how can we accomplish this when the consumer can buy the world using the internet with their fingertips? 
You may want to focus your efforts on boosting your sales, but winning over new customers and ensuring customer retention are among the top priorities for small business owners. As in life, you want to surround yourself with people of quality, not quantity.



There are over two billion people on the internet, and 70% of them use it every day. That is a huge market, with seemingly endless possibilities, but the reality is, most of these users are not searching for or ready to buy your product. So how do you find an ideal customer through the sea of duds? Start by finding out who your ideal customer is. The best tool is research. We want to know as much as possible about a new person in our lives, but in business, we define this as the persona of your buyer. A buyer persona is a fictional representation of your ideal customer. They are not real customers, but they exhibit the needs, wants, pain points, and ideals of your customers. In our lives, we have been a version of this persona. We have issues, wants, and needs. We can use our own insights on the pain points in our lives when determining who our ideal customer persona is.

How do you determine your buyer?

Set up a series of questions to put yourself in the shoes of your typical customer and answer the questions associated with your persona’s role, goals, challenges, company, and identity. Your checklist could look something like, but is not limited to: 

1. What is your job role?

2. Your job title? 

3. How is your job measured? 

4. What is a typical day? 

5. What skills are required? 

6. What knowledge and tools do you use? 

7. Who do you report to? Who reports to you?

Talk with your sales team and get feedback.

Ask questions such as, what types of sales cycles does your sales team work with and what generalizations can they make about the different types of customers you serve?

You conduct research to identify what solutions are right for you, you need research to identify who needs your product for your business as well. 

- Research what types of customers you currently have.

 -Research what kinds of products they currently use.

-What are the customer’s issues or pain points?

Small business owners often don’t have a method of asking their customers how they’re doing. Sometimes you have to actually ask what their needs are.  Having a system to keep track of your customers to see where they’re happy, where they can improve, and how your company is doing from the customers’ perspective can provide solutions for addressing new customers’ needs. Communicate with your current customers. What was the best way to communicate with them? How do they respond to different types of communicative strategies? In life, we speak to the people close to us in different ways. Customers are people, like there are different types of people, there are different types of customers who prefer different types of communication. You win them in different ways. Survey your customers to understand their needs or pains so you can offer them a solution. 

Consider the ethnographic information of a customer. Does their culture habits or needs align with the culture of your business or product? Ethnography is a systematic and holistic approach to real-life experience to understand implicit desires or cultural practices that can surround a product. Focus groups fail to inform what the consumer is really doing, whereas ethnography links what people say to what they do.

Take the data you’ve accumulated through your research and communication to create an infographic tailored to your new consumers. Infographics are effective because of their visual element. People receive significantly more information from vision than any of the other senses. Images are processed faster than text. Unlike text, the brain can processes pictures all at once. Yourentire business processes or products can become relevant to a new audience through a design that leads the eye to a complete report. The infographic primes the consumer and makes the subject more accessible. Your consumers have a short attention span, give them the information they are seeking through visual content.

Once you have the research aggregated on your persona, you can then begin to build their story.

What do they need, what do they want, what is holding them back, and who are they?

For example:

  • Tiffany is a 45 year old single mother who works 12 hours a day running her small business. She is overwhelmed with growing her business which bleeds into her life at home. When she is not working, she enjoys spending time at home with her young children.  She has a yearly income of $175,000, but because she is on a single parent income, her biggest concern is preparing for her children’s futures. She puts most of this income back into the family, but what she has been able to save, she has created an additional fund for the future of her business.

Personas should be holistic, in that they cover the total story of the fictional individual. Does Tiffany fit into your company’s ideal clientele? If not, Tiffany is probably not of interest to you.

Surprisingly few companies clarify their core customer selection criteria. Inhibiting the learning of your company can damage their leadership in the industry. At Synergy Marketing Strategy and Research Inc., we believe to continuously satisfy a customer over time. With the Rapid Small Business Retreat Boot Camp, you will learn to build on an effective customer selection that focuses on the buyer to address the problems or opportunities they are experiencing. This method to find the right customer for you is congruent to the methods we take to foster our relationships in our personal lives. For more information about the ideal customers we serve, please download a copy of Dr. Rachel's free E-Book the link below.



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