Last week, we got some really great questions in response to last week's newsletter, where we asked you to send in your questions (If you're not getting our newsletter, you join us here). One of our brand-friends and previous clients Jenny Bailey of This Vivid Life, a color and style consultancy, emailed us back with a great question about finding dream customers — specifically customers who don't quite know they need you. Because her question was one that we get often from our customers, last week we took the opportunity to flush out an answer here on our blog, which you can read here.
But after writing that post, I wasn't quite finished with the topic. I had some lingering thoughts around finding those dream clients, especially when they don't know about you yet.
Who are you talking to, exactly?
If you’ve done any sort of strategy work at all around your blogging and social media, you might have heard of the concept of making customer profiles. This is one of the first things we do for our clients when we sit down to make any sort of plan (Brand Plan or Blog & Social Plans). It’s super important to understand who you’re speaking to, what their goals are, and what their "pain" is before deciding how you’re going to approach helping them.
To continue my example from last week's blog, for Jenny and her style business, it might be tempting to say, “My dream client is anyone who wears ill-fitting clothing, or does’t understand their color profile, or does’t understand the right styles of clothing for their body type.”
Michelle vs. Dan
Let introduce two “customers” to explain the difference. Let’s call this first customer “Michelle.” Michelle is a thirty-three year old professional who works in tech in San Francisco. She’s climbed the ladder and is finding herself in more senior positions. Michelle loves shopping and often reaches for fast-fashion or bargain stores like TJ Maxx or Marshall’s. Michelle ends up wearing a lot of designer clothing that doesn’t quite fit or isn’t her exact shape, but it brings her joy because she’s gotten it at such a great price. If she were to say to Jenny, “Don’t you love my sweater? I got it at 85% off!” Jenny might not get the reaction she's looking for if she responds with, “It’s a great price, but its really not your color and isn't flattering. Here’s my card I can help you!”
Let’s call the second customer “Dan.” Dan also is in his mid-thirties and works in tech, and is also up for some big promotions over the next year or so. Dan is starting to sense that he can shed some of his twenty-something habits and acquiring a little more “polished” taste, but he’s not quite sure where or how to start (Does he buy a new car? Get new sheets for his apartment? New clothing?). Even though Dan is exploring, he will likely have more specific signs that he's interested.
These behaviors include things like:
- Opening more of Jenny's emails, and perhaps responding to some
- Commenting on social media, or liking most of Jenny's posts
- Asking about one package in particular vs general questions about Jenny's offerings
- Asking about pricing
- Asking about the details about the product or the package
Both Michelle and Dan have the same problem: a better wardrobe will help them be perceived as ready to do more at work. The major difference here is that Dan is aware of his pain, whereas Michelle doesn’t have pain (heard of the phrase “ignorance is bliss”?). Michelle loves her bargain sweaters even if they are ill-fitting.
So what to do? The good news here is that Jenny will nurture both. She'll include both on her email list and continue to reach out to them based on her prospecting plan (and bonus if she uses some sort of CMS that can track these behaviors). Jenny will know that Dan is real dream client, while Michelle is a dream client in the making. She should feel comfortable sending Dan specific ways to hire her in addition to her regular blog and social content, while with Michelle she’ll continue with the educational plan I’ve outlined in last week's post. Let’s pretend that somewhere down the road Michelle has a baby, and suddenly her body feels different. Nothing fits right and she’s feeling lousy about getting ready in the morning. Jenny will have a track record of offering Michelle great information about how cut and color can make you feel great. And Jenny might know that new moms are a particular sweet spot for her, because she can help those moms find new ways of dressing post-baby. Jenny can reach out to Michelle again with a more firm offer or way to hire her. And now that Michelle is aware of that pain, she’s much more likely to consider hiring Jenny or exhibit some of those signs that she too is ready to buy.
An exercise for you to try: if you don't already have customer profiles created for your company, take out a sheet of paper and begin jotting down notes from your last 5-10 great clients. Take note of their demographic information, things they come to your site to learn or gain, the offerings they purchased from you, the words they used to ask for those offerings and other brands they like to read or follow. Make notes of any of the specific questions they'd asked, behaviors they seem to follow, or stages of life or business growth that they are in. Once you have a "word map" take out a highlighter and begin highlighting things they have in common.
Now make a second list of clients who seemed great, but it didn't quite work out. Maybe you were excited about working with them, but the deal didn't close. Or you thought they'd really benefit from working with you, but they never really considered it. Or maybe they did work with you and it wasn't a stellar experience for you or for them. Make notes the pains they have that their not yet aware of, and the questions the did ask you when chatting with you. Also note some of the behaviors they exhibit as a result (did they tend to ask for things not on your offerings? Did they try to customize your packages by asking you to take out things? Did they not purchase with you?) Knowing the small but oh-so-important signs that someone is ready to buy, as well as the signs that they're not quite ready to buy, and knowing the difference between the two will allow you to approach right people thoughtfully and confidently.
Email us with your questions: If you have other questions that you'd like answered, give us a shout! We'd love to answer your questions directly, on the newsletter, or in our blog: email@example.com
Have a great week, and we're looking forward to hearing from you!
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