Know your customers: know yourself
Published July 24, 2007 by Gillian Hunter
If you do not know who your customers are - you will never be able to explain who you are! It is quite simple, your identity is intrinsically linked to who your customers are. Many companies have a huge problem explaining who they are and what they do.
But, when you dig deeper - you realise they do not understand their niche. In fact, many companies don't really know which markets they are serving, nor do they really understand why they attract the clients and customers that they do.
UK business is missing out on millions in lost opportunities! Most UK businesses have a problem explaining who and what they are at some stage. This is not is not a problem in itself. The real issue is if companies drift along and do not address the issue - quickly enough. Not understanding your niche has a huge knock-on affect. It costs businesses millions in miss-directed marketing budgets and millions in lost revenue and lost business opportunities. So, how do you work out who you are?
Step 1: Analyse who your customers are ... First, work out which markets you address! Take a look at your customer base - which sectors and sectors you work with. By default, over time, you will realise that you tend to work with a particular group of people, or niche. Not all businesses are in the fortunate position, when they set out, to work out exactly who their target market is ... for some it may takes months or even years. Ironically, the better you know the customer - the clearer you will be on your own identity.
Ask: Who do we do business with? Which market segments do we do the most business with? Who do we do our best business with? Who do we really enjoy working with? Who do we do our best work with and for?
Step 2. Understand the problems your customers would like to have solved ... It may come as a shock, but your clients don't buy your widget because it whizzes round at so many million revolutions per second. No matter how exciting that is to your business. They buy your widget because it solves a problem.
Ask: What problems do our customers have? What problems do our customers like us to solve? Why do our customers buy from us?
Step 3. Explain how you help your customers solve these problems ... Once you know who your niche is, you need to work out what you do to help that niche. What is it you do to help them? We are not only talking about the things you provide - the products and services - but about how you help them solve their problems. Ask: How do we help our customers? What do we do to add value to the customers business? What do our customers buy from us and why? How does this help them?
Step No 4. Describe what results this delivers for your customers ... Once you know who you help, what problems they have and how your business helps them, you will have a better idea what results your customers achieve from using your service.
Ask: What results do our products and services deliver for our customers? Work through these steps to enable you to communicate clearly with your audience about who you are and how you help customers. This makes it easier for people to understand what you do - and tell others!!
This process is akin to the steps you need to write an elevator speech by the way. When companies find that magic ingredient: being able to communicate quickly and easily who they are ... it is amazing how business begins to flow in.
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