Sales is a tricky thing. You can have an amazing product, backed by decades of experience in the field, supported by the top marketers in the business, but unfortunately, if you’re putting yourself in front of the wrong prospective customer, all of those wonderful things mean nothing. You could be the best turkey sandwich-maker in all the world, but if you’re trying to sell your sandwiches to a group of folks who follow a vegetarian diet, you’ve lost the battle before it even started.
According to Sage Age Strategie’s own Diana Moore, Vice President of Technology and Production Services, “Too often, when you ask a salesperson or customer service representative or even a business leader who their customers are, the response is vague. ‘Everybody’ is not a good answer, yet many organizations go their entire lifespans without truly honing in on who their ideal customer is and how to best reach them.”
Discovering your ideal customer, and reaching out to them in a way that resonates with them, is “mission critical when it comes to successful direct marketing,” Diana explains. Let’s take a look at how to identify exactly who your ideal customer is and what to do once you have that information locked in.
Discovering Your Ideal Customer
There are a variety of tactics to be utilized when it comes to getting a crystal clear picture of your customer, their needs and their aspirations. Understanding your customer is possibly the single most important thing when it comes to creating and sustaining a viable business. Many businesses might manage with a rough understanding of their customer base, but the best businesses are constantly examining and refining the picture they have of their ideal customer. Get a clear picture using these methods:
Dive into Data
When it comes to understanding your customer, data is your best friend. It may not tell the whole picture, but it tells you a lot. Data gathering can be done in many ways. You could survey your customer base to get solid demographic information — but always keep in mind that self-reported information is limited. If you have a presence on social media, certain sites - including Facebook - will provide valuable demographic data, and also useful anecdotal information by way of comments, reviews and posts. Take a deep look at how your customers engage on your website, too – the information they read, the links they click, and what they avoid all reveal insight into who your customers are and what they want. Google Analytics is an excellent tool for sorting through that specific information.
Talk to Your Frontline Representatives
The individuals in your organization who speak directly with customers are obviously some of the best folks to talk to in order to glean valuable insight into who is buying your product. They are on the frontlines interacting with customers every day. They can tell you the common questions they hear, the concerns customers express the most, what really gets customers excited and what leaves them cold. Make time to have deep and thoughtful conversations with this invaluable members of your team.
Talk to Whoever Referred Them
Oftentimes when you’re busy making a sale, you’re focused on figuring out what needs to get done to close the deal. That means a step like going back to the person or organization that referred the customer to you in the first place might get put on the backburner. Avoid skipping this potentially critical step. Follow up with your top referrers. These individuals and organizations, like your frontline customer service representatives, will not only have useful knowledge to share about the people they refer to you. They can also give you details about why they referred them in the first place.
Targeting Your Ideal Customer
Now that we know how to discover who our customers are, let’s review the steps to take to really refine this knowledge and put it to work.
First, Establish Your Value
It’s not enough to know who your customer is. You must also know why that customer chose you and not someone else. Start uncovering this valuable information by forming an initial value statement; basically, answer the question, “Why us?” Then, use that answer to create a value hypothesis as to why your customers continuously decide to do business with you and not someone else.
Conduct Customer Research
In your initial discovery of who your customers are, you may have had some good conversations with your customers or gotten valuable baseline information through a survey. Now, it’s time to go deeper. You can do this any number of ways. Offering free or discounted products or services in exchange for feedback is one way. You can hold small or one-on-one meetings with these customers. In which, your goal should be to uncover what drew that customer to your product, what they think could be improved, what they loved and wouldn’t change and most importantly: how they heard about you, and how/why they ultimately chose you.
Create Customer Profiles
It may sound a bit silly, but hear me out. Once you have a good understanding of who your customers are, spend some quality time creating customer profiles. Give each one a name, an occupation, hobbies, interests, family background – really go in depth. These profiles are a great starting point for getting anyone in your business quickly and thoroughly familiarized with your customer base. Avoid the tendency to be too vague or to throw everything but the kitchen sink into one profile. The more specific and narrow you are with these profiles, the more accurate your marketing to your customers will be. Be sure to include information about how these individuals obtain information and make decisions about your products and services.
At this point, you have a strong understanding of who your customers are, why they chose you and how they make decisions. With this information, you can craft a marketing strategy that works. If your customers are younger (e.g. adult children) and rely on social media for information, you know to focus your efforts there. If they prefer one-on-one interaction with your sales representatives and would like more paper copies of product information, use that to your advantage in crafting a smart direct marketing campaign.
Whatever you uncover throughout this process, the takeaway is this: be specific and pointed with your marketing, and customize your strategy to each customer group. Doing so will ensure you reach the right people, in the right way and gain a customer for life.
Proven Sales and Marketing Expertise That Connects with Today’s Seniors
If you are managing a senior living community and are in need of expertise in precisely profiling, targeting and connecting with your target markets, contact us for more information today. Sage Age Strategies is a multiple award-winning, strategic growth and marketing organization that operates exclusively in the senior living industry. For more information, please call or e-mail Adrienne Mansfield Straub at 570-601-1720 ext. 100 / firstname.lastname@example.org.