How Well Do You Know Your Customer?
One of the key components of any successful sales system is identifying who the ideal targets (markets, organizations, individuals) are for your sales efforts. By “ideal” I mean – those buyers that predictably buy more and at higher prices, giving you better margins.
Focusing your sales efforts on those buyers that you have identified as being “Ideal Potential Customers” will enable you to drive your selling costs down and sales up. Because not all buyers are created equal. The key is to identify which prospects offer you the best path to success and afford the least path of resistance.
This also puts you on the path to significant, predictable, and sustainable sales growth.
The key to targeting is to get to know your ideal buyers (prospects and customers) intimately – their needs, wants, fears, goals, and aspirations. Here are some tips to identify the buyers you need to understand the most.
Targeting – A Key Component of Smooth Selling
Targeting in sales is the best practice of identifying the characteristics of those buyers (markets, organizations and individuals) that value what you offer the most, therefore they are easier to sell to and the most profitable.
The benefits of going through the exercise of targeting are numerous.
- Higher lead-to-sales conversion rates – Your salespeople will make more sales with less effort
- Shorter sales cycles – When you are talking to buyers who value what you offer, sales close faster
- Larger transaction sizes –It’s easier to sell larger dollar amounts of products and services to buyers who want all that you offer
- More profitable sales – Buyers who value what you uniquely offer are less price sensitive, they are willing to pay a premium
- More cost-effective lead generation – Your lead generation costs drop dramatically when you hyper focus your efforts only on buyers with the greatest inclination to buy
- Longer-lasting, value-based relationships – Again, if buyers value what you offer and you do a great job of delivering, they will be loyal and the lifetime value of that customer will be a boon to your bottom line.
Based on the sales operation audits I’ve completed over the past several years only 28% of SMBs (small and mid-size business owners) know who their “best” customers are, by name. Only 13% used predefined criteria to identify their best customers; a majority of the time “sales made” was the only criterion used. And only 4% of the time have SMBs actually gone through the process of building an Ideal Customer Profile (or ICP).
In order to create consistent, sustainable sales results, it is critical that you identify your Ideal Customer Profile.
What is an Ideal Customer Profile?
An Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) is a description of the type of customer that derives the most benefit from a seller’s products and services. There are three categories of data most commonly used as criteria to identify ideal customers:
- Demographics (annual revenue/income, number of employees, amount of your products and services consumed annually);
- Geographics (where the customer is located); and
- Psychographics (why and how buying decisions are made, for example their interests, opinions, attitudes, values and behaviors).
The simplest way to create your Ideal Customer Profile is by following a two-step process:
- First, grade your customers A, B, C, or D employing the following descriptions:
Awesome – They buy everything you can sell them, then ask what more you can sell them; buy on value, buy high profit margin items and never ask for a discount; very rarely shop the competition; pay on time; are a real pleasure to deal with.
Basic – They buy only what they need to buy, are hard to up-sell; buy based on a number of factors including product availability, delivery, value, price, etc.; may ask for a discount or extend payment terms; normally pay on time, but not always; may shop the competition; you don’t get a lot of pleasure out of dealing with them, you can take them or leave them.
Can’t Deal With – They buy occasionally, usually low margin items; are always looking for a deal and/or special service; take up an inordinate about of time for the money you make off them; normally ask for a discount and/or extend terms and don’t pay on time; usually shop the competition; are frustrating to deal with.
Dead – They buy from you rarely or occasionally, always low margin items; are always looking for a deal and/or special service and feel that everything is up for negotiation; take up an inordinate about of time for the money you make off them; normally don’t pay on time and always ask for a discount; always shop the competition; are very demanding and frustrating to deal with.
- Second, list the characteristics (demographic, geographic and psychographic) that your “A” (best) customers exhibit, followed by the characteristics that your “C & D” (worst) customers exhibit, and then merge the two lists together by listing the characteristics of your best customers and the opposite of your worst customers characteristics.
I guarantee this will be an eye-opening experience.
Now that you know who your ideal customers are, get on the phone and talk to them about their new needs, challenges, fears, aspirations so you can identify areas where you can offer them additional value. Dig deep, the more you communicate, the better able you are to offer or create new products and services that meet their needs.
Want more insight and tools to help you identify your ideal customers and talk to them to discover new sales opportunities? That’s why I created the Star Guide Program for Smooth Selling Forever.
This accelerated, 10-week program gives you and your organization the processes, techniques and tools to get more control over your time, opportunities, and sales revenue for more predictable and sustainable sales growth. The program for SMBs launches in June. You can get more information and register here.
Or to see if the STAR Guide Program is a good fit for your organization, I’m offering a free webinar on March 23rd and March 30th – “5 Things Every Company Needs to Implement in a Sales System that Produces Astronomical Results.”
If you have any questions on how a smooth selling system could benefit your organization or about the Star Guide Program, please give me a call at 630.649.4943.