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Twelve things you need to know about your customers before you put them on “The List”

A simple approach to gaining a crystal clear picture of your customer is essential in keeping your sales efforts focused and traction maintained.

1. Who are they: Find out the size and kind of business they are. For example, are they a small private business or a big multinational? Do they fit your target market profile?

2. What are their core values: Matching their culture and core values to yours will help develop a supportive relationship, where price may not always be the key.

3. Do they have a proven process: Having a proven process followed by all will develop expectations of what doing business with this customer will look like.

4. What do they do: Have an understanding of what their business is trying to achieve and why.

5. What motivates them to buy: If you know why customers buy, it's easier to match their needs to the benefits your business can offer. Do your three uniques (USPs) match the needs of the customer?

6. When they buy: If you approach a customer just at the time they want to buy, you will massively increase your chances of success. If there is no set purchasing cycle find out the expected close date.

7. How they buy: For example, some people prefer to buy from a website, through a tender or quote process, while others prefer a face-to-face meeting.

8. How much money they have: One of the foundations of qualifying the prospect is being able to match what you're offering to what you know your customer can afford.

9. What makes them feel good about buying: If you know what makes them tick, you can serve them in the way they prefer. In addition if you guarantee your product or service this will often make the close easier.

10. What they expect of you: Yes of course, on time and on budget, however, it’s not always about the service you offer but how easy it is to do business with you.

11. What they think about you: If your customers enjoy dealing with you, they're likely to continue to do business with you. A complaint can be a gift and that can only happen if you know what they are, so good communications are imperative.

12. What they think about your competitors: If you are coming in after a rival, the customer will often share the reasons why they released the competition. Write this in to your “reason code” when recording your “closed won” field in to your CRM to stand a better chance of staying ahead of your rivals.

Whether you are large or small, defining what your customer looks like it an essential part of your Marketing Strategy, this will influence your win/loss ratio, increase your profits, reduce stressful customers, increase positive referrals, help with cashflow and builds long lasting relationships.

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