What every small business, start-up, entrepreneur must know!
February 3, 2015
By Matthew Tukaki
There is a truism in business that the customer is always right – the truth is, in order for you to believe in it you first need to have a customer! Whether you lead a sales team, are in business development, own your own small business, run a corporation or about to start-up there is one thing above all else you need – a customer.
But, the mistake a lot of people make is simply thinking that if I build it they will come. That’s an absolute lie. Boeing didn't just build a 747 Jumbo Jet because they thought the airlines would buy in droves – they actively got future customers involved in product development. Before a supermarket puts a product on the shelf they always make sure they put it in front of a focus group of who they believe the target audience will be and road test the look, taste, appeal and price.
To get to the point of having an actual paying customer you need to understand what your perfect customer would look like and that’s why it is important to build a profile. Once you understand who they are your sales force will be better equipped to go out and find them because, as I said, you don’t just build it in the hope they come – you need to attract them in. First the definition:
These are the questions you need to be asking!
Where are they? Always know what geographic location you are trying to tap into because your customer attraction strategy will change as you move from one location to another. For example, McDonalds knows that the traditional cheeseburger is a great seller in the USA but in India they have a different taste – so what did they do? Release a Tandor Chicken Burger. Location, location, location is not just where your store should be but where your customer lives and why
What age and demographic am I trying to attract? Always try and ensure you understand the age group and gender you are trying to market your product or service to because these demographics may engage with you in different ways. For example the younger demographic will be used to social media so a customer attraction strategy built around social media will work – but if your market is more the over 50’s then it might not because they could be used to more traditional forms of marketing. Women do buy for different reasons to men. Men are more your go in, buy it and get out of the store in least time possible where women may see it more as a day out and may want to linger, buy, be sold to, buy again. People buy for different reasons
Understanding spending power: if you over price your product then you run the risk of never making any money and if you under-price you can also miss the mark – that’s why its important to try and understand the spending power of the market you are trying to tap into. For example, don’t open a fish and chip take away shop and sell a basic product for $15 when the market around you is only prepared to pay $10. Always look at the economic spending power of the geography and demographic you are trying to attract
Where are my future customers already shopping? If you have something to sell then chances are your future customers are already buying it from someone else – so, who are they buying from and what are they paying and why? What are your competitors selling and what’s working for them or not? Always try and scope out the competition!
If you answer those four core questions then you are more than just on the road to success you could be close to nailing it!
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