Everyone knows a business can only grow when they figure out what it takes to get more customers.
On paper this seems like such a simple problem to solve, but in truth it is likely one of the toughest problems any business owner faces. There is a saying, “build it and they will come”. Unfortunately, over the years there have been a whole lot of businesses built, and they didn’t come.
There are a lot of reasons why it is difficult to get more customers, but generally they fall into one of two categories. Either the business provides a solution that people don’t understand or don’t want, or the business tries to sell to someone who isn’t their their real customer.
For the purpose of this article, we are going to deal with the second one. So what do I mean when I say they try to sell to someone who isn’t their real customers?
- They try to sell to their family and friends – Just because your family and friends want to support you, does not mean that they are truly a reflection of your real customers. Now certainly some will like what you are doing, but just because your grandma thought it was great, doesn’t mean that everyone will.
- They try to convince themselves that advertising channels work the same for everyone – There are products and services that can be sold using social media, email marketing, bus benches, etc., but if your real customer doesn’t use those channels to receive new information, then you are wasting your time and money trying to sell to people who will never be your customer.
- They sell based on what is important to them – Just because something in your product or service is important to you does not mean it will be important to others. For example you may pride yourself in being quick and efficient, but this doesn’t mean that is what your real customer is looking for. They could be more interested in precision and having an eye for detail.
- They try to sell to convince a group (especially a large group) to buy the product or service that doesn’t really need it – There are all kinds of large groups out there; seniors, business people, educators, youth, etc. Sometimes people take the exception as the rule and then generalize that behavior across a broad group. Just because grandpa bought a pair of jeans does not mean that seniors are now all going out and buying jeans.
So how do you know who your real customer is?
It is going to take a little evaluation. To find your real customer you need to look and research at all your customers as a collective, with some emphasis on your return customers. If you follow the 80/20 rule, this means that there will be something in common that 80% of the people have. It could be income, age, gender, language, geographical location, specific type of problem, etc. or a combination of these. Once you determine this, these are your people….these are the ones who understand what you are selling.
Where the miss happens here, is too many times people don’t put pen to paper and do the work. Instead they generalize who they think they are and in doing so, don’t really dig into who their “real” customer is.
Now, this may not be the group you would like to have. It could be there is another group you think would be better. Recognize, to get a different group, you are going to have to change something. It could be your product or service. It could be in your messaging, It could be in your buying experience. The simple true is, to attract a different group you are going to have to let go of how you are doing it today. The warning here though, is in making that change, you could very well alienate the customers you already have.
This is the problem that many companies have. They try to be everything to everybody and end up being mediocre to everyone. To get more customers, sometimes it requires you to get more specific about who your real customer is and to really focus on serving them.
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