What do you really know about your customer?

In today’s world it is imperative that we continuously recalibrate. Susan Spaulding, principal of Recalibrate Strategies and Q-FI Solutions guest blogger, provides practical ways to embed recalibrating into your culture and uncover new possibilities.

Consumers know what they want. Whether business owners or individuals, they have access to more information than ever before and they use it before making a purchase.

Consumers today make smart purchasing decisions. They research online, talk to friends and colleagues, and read consumer reports and trade journals. They ask questions of their friends via Facebook, Twitter and Google+. They look for referrals in chat rooms, networking meetings and professional associations.

In order to sell to this well informed consumer you need to be part of that very big circle of influence, and that means knowing as much about your consumer as possible.

This is true whether you are selling business to business or business to consumer.

Start with the Basics

First you need the facts:

Are they single, married (with or without children), empty nesters, or seniors?
Where do they live?
How well are they educated?
How much do they earn?
Are they blue collar workers, corporate executives or entrepreneurs?
How many children do they have and of what age?
Do they own their home or rent?
If they own, what is the estimated valuation of their home?
Do they live in an urban or rural setting?
Do they own a car or use public transportation?

If they are purchasing on behalf of their business, then you also need to know the basics about their business and their customers.

What type of business is it?
What size is the business?
Is it a start-up, a small business, a chain, a large business?
Are they independently owned and operated, a family business steeped in tradition, or are they traded publicly?
Is their customer base local or global?

Understand their life stage and their life style

Are they athletes or theater goers or both?
Are they on-the-run young parents, urbanites, or ready to retire boomers?
Do they prefer to eat at diners or high end, trendy restaurants?
Is it likely that they travel, attend the theater, and trade cars frequently?
Are they apt to hang out at the local coffee shop or the playground?
Are they more likely to attend a live music concert or a local speaker series?
Do they find books at a library or a book store?
Do they hold credit cards to Lowes and Home Depot or Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom's?
Do they prefer take-out or food grown in their own garden?
Do they shop in stores or order online?
Do they tweet everyday or could they care less?
Do they read reviews or search out YouTube videos?
Do they own a smart phone and wouldn't leave home without it or do they still depend on land lines?
Are they innovators and early adopters or are they fast followers or are they risk averse and will lag behind?

Personify your customer

Combine what you know into a characterization of your ideal customer.

Meet Chris

Chris is 55, married, and has three grown children - two of which are still in college. He is a Chief Executive, likely to be a 2nd generation owner of the business. He is a traditional professional, who has worked his way through the ranks. His identity is tightly connected to his business and he is trying to effectively steer the company in times of change, Profitability is a huge concern. He is looking for ways to cut costs to streamline processes. He is open to changing his business model. And, he is looking for what is real niches should be. The well-being of his employees weighs very heavily on his mind. He admits he can over or under estimate the talent and capacity of his leadership team. Chris spends way too much time thinking about work when he is not at work. He is worrying about the welfare of his employees and their families.

Meet Hannah

Hannah is on the go all the time. Having her friends around her is important and she's always seeking new places to meet her friends and visit. Although she's on the go, it's important for her to stay connected with friends - either talking by phone, texting or social networking (Facebook, Twitter). Hannah is still trying to figure out exactly what she'll do in life career-wise, but she's very committed to her college education and is planning to go to graduate school. She is out on the town a lot meeting friends and making new friends at area restaurants and bars. She also enjoys events - going to games and concerts. She dates but is not interested in settling down for a while. Hannah likes to make an impression and really likes to be seen as trendy. Wanting to be seen as sophisticated, she likes to surprise her friends. So don't be surprised the next time you are out for brunch with Hannah that she orders a Paloma along with a Kale Caesar with bacon, eggs and sweet potato hash browns on the side.

Knowing your customer is at the center of every thriving business, whether it sells directly to individuals or other entities. Once you have this familiarity, you can use it to convince potential and existing customers that doing business with you is in their best interests.

Recalibrate Strategies, led by founder Susan Spaulding, is ready to partner with you to offer a full complement of tools, insights and ideas to help your organization recalibrate and accelerate your growth. Recalibrate Strategies help companies grow their business. We apply proven marketing systems to recalibrate their business and their brands by collaboratively creating a success blueprint. We facilitate a process that harnesses insights, generates new ideas and provides a strategic roadmap. Our founder and lead consultant has 30+ years of experience as a CEO, entrepreneur and marketing expert with exceptional leadership and facilitation skills.

Susan Spaulding, Recalibrate Strategies
Telephone: 1-816-560-5416
email: susan@recalibratestrategies.com