You’ve no doubt heard all about buyer personas and how everything to do with marketing starts with understanding your buyers and developing your own one? Meet with any marketing company around the world and this will be one of the first questions they ask you, in fact I bet you’ve been asked it lots of times and have your stock answer ready to roll out. Now what if I were to tell you that buyer personas don’t work?
They don’t work because business owners don’t understand them, they don’t want to understand them and you can often see somebodies eyes glaze over as they roll out “anyone that wants to buy” or “anyone that can afford it” type stock answers. Oh, and let’s not forget those people who often confuse demographic information with this, and come up with great demographics but nothing that really helps a business engage its buyers. Chances are you have your own stock answer.
Buyer Personas Don’t Work.
The reason they don’t work is because business owners don’t understand them, they don’t want to understand them and the terminology itself makes most business owners switch off and think of a stock answer.
Best Customers Do Work
I’ve taken to using the term “best customers” because let’s face it, every single business owner can associate easily with this. I was speaking with an entrepreneur the other day and they were asking about buyer personas and saying that they could work anything out because they didn’t actually have a business and therefore didn’t have any buyers to interview.
I simply stated, think of the best customer you could attract and then go through your contacts and find a few people you know or can get introduced to, that fit this criteria. These are you best potential customers and these are the people you need speak with and answer those all-important “best customer questions” so that you can solve their problems and maximize your sales right from the start.
Working Out Who Your Best Customer Is
You as a business owner understand who your best customers are, you understand that eighty percent of your profit comes from the twenty percent of customers that generally make up a business’s best customers. And you can no doubt identify straight away two or three of your customers that fit into the category of best customers.
Once you’ve highlighted who your best customers are, all you have to do is speak to them and seek out answers to the following:
Problems: What are three or more problems or issues that your best customer dedicates time, budget and energy to solving?
What does success look like: What does success look like in the clients’ eyes, this could be revenue growth, or personal development such as a promotion?
Road Blocks: What could prompt your best customer to question whether you can help them achieve their success goals? This is where you begin to uncover the hidden objections such as office politics, prior experience with a company likes your, a lack of trust, etc.
Purchasing Cycle: What process does your best customer follow in exploring, evaluating and selecting a solution that can overcome their perceived road blocks and achieve their success goals?
Decision Making: What will your best customer think about the products offered by your competitors? What aspects will they like, find useful, decide are better than yours, worse than your own. If you really push the boat out you should aim to find this information out from those that purchase from a competitor and those that decide that no solution is right for them.
Digital Inventory: What digital assets do your best customers have, how do they access the digital world. What do they do online, where and with whom?
Once you have real answers to the above questions from your best customers all you need do is add in some basic demographic data and have some fun coming up with quirky names for each “best customer” that you work on.
As an added benefit it’s an awful lot easier to produce content for your best customer than it is for your buyer persona, this is because everyone in every industry is always wanting to work with and please their best customers.