All too often, companies don’t know who their buyers are.
Sounds hard to believe, right? How can you sell something if you don’t know who is buying? Yet, it’s not uncommon to run across business owners who are so busy selling they don’t have a deep understanding about who is buying or why.
The cash register keeps ringing and orders are moving, so everything appears just fine. But ask them to describe, in detail, the characteristics and motivations of their best buyers and watch their faces turn blank.
As we’ve explained before, owners find themselves in deep trouble when they fail to solicit feedback from their clients. Buyer feedback is critical for learning how to improve every facet of your company. By understanding buyers, a company can quickly fine-tune their marketing strategy, bring greater value to the client, and efficiently increase sales.
It all starts with personas.
Let’s dissect this further:
“Research-based”. That means getting to know your buyers.
Through the use of surveys, interviews, sales and demographic data, you can determine broad facts about your clients. What do they buy? How long does it take them to make a decision? How many people are involved in the decision-making process. What need is being met with your product or service? How old, what gender, and to what socioeconomic group they belong?
“Representation”. Not a perfect snapshot, but a detailed caricature of your ideal buyer. You must examine the facts around your client base and create a broad stroke description of the buyer. This representation becomes the blueprint, or profile, to which you can refer when planning your approach.
“Ideal client”. Fairly obvious, but this is certainly unique to your business. Sometimes half the battle is defining what, exactly, qualifies a buyer as your ideal client. Is it a buyer of a certain product? Or is it someone who makes a large investment? Perhaps it’s a combination of total spend and potential for referrals.
Similarly, a persona can be developed for your least ideal client. Who are the vocal opponents most likely to trash you on Yelp? Why? How can that be avoided? What is your plan for damage control?
Going even further, a persona can be developed for influencers. This is someone who may not directly buy from you, but who affects the decision-making process of your ideal client.
How is all this important to you?
A well-planned sales and marketing strategy should improve your abilities to attract, capture, and convert your ideal buyers. But first, you need to know who it is you hope to bring into the pipeline. As the old saying goes, you fish where the fish are. How do you know what bait to use if you don’t know which fish you’re seeking? Seems easy enough. Or is it?
Ask yourself these questions:
What need does my product or service fulfill? What needs aren’t being met?
What kinds of clients do business with us? From what industry do they come?
What is their position or role in their companies?
What age? What gender? What other important demographic information is relevant?
Dig deeper into their interests or preferences if it makes sense to do so. In some cases, you could even give them a name. Satisfied Sam. Buyer Brenda.
Expound upon this profile until you feel you’ve listed all the characteristics that, in your mind, define your ideal buyer. Then prepare yourself for the hard part.
Test this hypothetical persona.
Ask your real clients the same questions you answered on your own. How does the reality match up against your previous understanding? Isolate those areas where your preconceived ideas don’t comport with reality. How has that affected your business or brand? How will it affect your future decisions?
Ultimately, with this knowledge, you can categorize your clients, identify them in the context of a sale, and develop unique offers for each category of buyer. Personas are a powerful tool that can be used to set company objectives, focus your efforts, and ultimately help grow your business.
Maybe you need help or prefer the guidance of a professional who can steer you through the process, probe further, and formulate the personas that will guide your future efforts.