Recently, I conducted an all day workshop in the West Texas town of Coleman. The event was organized by the town’s Economic Development folks and championed by a long time Duct Tape reader Greg Martin.
During then event I outlined the Duct Tape Marketing System in great detail.
As any long time reader here knows one of the first steps in my system is to narrowly define who makes an ideal customer for your business. The endpoint involved in this step can be best summed by this statement – How would I spot your ideal customer?
The path to this endpoint involves lots of study focused on your most profitable customers that already refer – the maim reason to start here is that profitable client are usually profitable because they have the right problem or are the type we can serve well. Because of that fit they usually have the kind of experience that leads them to refer.
The trick of course is to understand why that is. Understand why they are profitable, why they are such a good fit, why they work so well, why they don’t come for low price, why they let us show them how to get value.
The reason to go to this amount of work dissecting and narrowing our focus is two fold. First off, we want to do what we can to attract more of those ideal folks. But, it’s just as important in terms of figuring out how to train, educate and work with every client in a way that makes them ideal.
When you better grasp what makes a great client great, you’re more equipped to create the intentional processes that can turn a not so ideal client into one that behaves like one.
The net effect of all of our marketing is that we get the clients we deserve or create based on how and what we communicate before, during and after the sale. Understanding that gives you complete control of the outcome.
Shortly after the Texas event I received the email below from event organizer Martin and I’ve reprinted it here as he sums this idea up as well as I could have.
I had an interesting discussion with one of our fellow Small Biz Workshop attendees a few days ago. During our conversation, we got on the topic of the Ideal Customer. He said something that started me thinking, and it was likely something that most of us are struggling with as we consider the ideas we heard in the Workshop.
“The Ideal Customer is a nice concept and I wish we could focus on just the best customers. But, truth is, in our market, we have to pay attention to all of our customers. In our world, our Ideal Customer is the next one to walk through that door.”
I knew that he was somehow not grasping the point John was trying to make. I also knew that I didn’t have a better answer for him in that moment. But, later that evening, I had an epiphany…
The Ideal Client is a concept worth considering and worth pursuing. And, here’s why. There is little doubt that the gentleman I was talking to could go over his client list and quickly point out the “great” clients or customers. He knows exactly who they are, simply because he lives and breathes this business every day. It’s quite likely that he could pick 4 or 5 and say “If I had 100 or 1000 customers just like this group, my business would run more smoothly, we would grow, and we would be more profitable.”
Here comes the epiphany part…
The probable reason those 4 or 5 are “Ideal” is because they pay on time, they are NOT especially price sensitive, they come in regularly instead of waiting until there is an “urgent” need, and because they refer others. But, and here’s the big “but”…
The question to ask once you have identified this small group is; “Why do they pay on time, why are they not terribly concerned about price, why do they come in regularly, why do they refer your business to others, what do they say when the refer your business to others?”
For example, they may not be price sensitive because they Trust you and because they Value the service you provide. Even if you are selling a retail product, there is still a service component in the way it’s delivered to you, the experience you have in the store, the availability you provide, the comfort level you have that you weren’t “sold” something you didn’t need, etc. Same for the other aspects that make them great clients. They understand the value you are providing.
And now, the “a-ha” moment. Yes, you are in a limited market. So, you DO need all the customers, not just the Ideal ones. But,…. By understanding what makes your Ideal Client tick, you now have the opportunity to educate the “other” clients and move them along the path to becoming Ideal Clients.
Your clients that are less than ideal are not that way because they choose to be. They just don’t know what your great clients know. It’s possible that your great clients learned what they know from someone besides you and you are now reaping the benefits. Maybe they did get the information from you, but it was by accident or it was because you have a closer “relationship” with those clients.
The point is, finding out “why” they behave in an Ideal Client manner is fantastic info for you. Once you have that information, you can systematically begin making sure that all of your clients know as much about how to be good clients as that small group of Ideal Clients knows already.
Just my two cents.
So, with this in mind let me ask you this – what kind of client do you deserve?