Who are my ideal customers, where are they and how do I find them?
Wouldn’t it be lovely if all your customers were “ideal”? Lots of business folk talk about the “ideal customer” and I imagine when you created your business plan, you had a picture of who yours could be.
Who is an ideal customer?
It will be different for all of us but there’s one thing which if we’re honest, stands out. An ideal customer knows what they need, values your advice and service and has the means to pay your bill.
Where are they – how do you find them?
You may have figured out a targeted list or network where you think you’ll find your ideal customer. Your ideal customer is everywhere you are.
Whether online or in person, networking is a great place to get to know people, meet other businesses and build relationships.
Find a networking group which works for you. Try a few and then spend time with a network of people you really enjoy being with.
“When I got to networking events I often have to remind myself to take that leap of faith and focus on building relationships instead of trying to look for revenue opportunities there and then.” Martin Byrne
Says Martin, building relationships is the only realistic strategy for long term networking success. Why? Because People buy from people before they buy products and services, people like people that are interested in them as people and people like people that they think are like them.
If I don’t like you or recognise your business values, the answer is no. People need to like each other before you can move on with getting to know each other. Then, only through getting to know someone can you build trust.
Anywhere and everywhere
Your ideal customer may be standing in front of you in the supermarket queue, sitting next to you at the cinema or standing right next to you in the pub.
There are opportunities everywhere, even with crowdsourcing websites but if you’re going down this route, just be mindful that you can put a lot of time in for little gain.
Even at the dentist…
This week, a member of my Cash Flow College told me how she found a potential new customer during a routine visit to the dentist.
If you go to the dentist regularly, you have to update a form each year to say if you have any new health issues, changes in medication or contact details. When she handed the updated from to the dentist he said, Oh, you’ve changed your email address and you have your own domain. Yes, she said. I have a small business. Great, what is it you do? I help other small businesses with PA support, social media and blog-writing. Wow, that’s great. We need some help with our social media.
There you have it. You can find ideal customers in the most unlikely situations.
How do you know if customers are ideal?
Now and again, the people you believe will be ideal customers turn out not to be.
When you get to the point of really talking business, start by asking them the right questions to get as much background about them as you can.
If you get a funny feeling that not is all quite right, you can either go with your gut or start making some checks.
Be the ideal partner or supplier
You too have a responsibility. People like to reward the people for having done exactly what they expect. When you send a proposal, then you’re telling them what to expect. You don’t have to mention payment terms in the proposal but it is useful to start the conversation as an early stage.
What should you do about putting payment terms in a proposal? Personally, since it’s a proposal, everything’s up for negotiation. That’s the whole idea: you haven’t actually won the contract yet.
You can use what you find out to tailor your terms to each customer. Tailoring terms is part of what I cover during the coaching sessions.
Who do you think makes an ideal customer and why?
Over in the Cash Flow College, we’ve been debating what it takes to be an ideal customer. The majority feel that the customer who pays time one of the most important qualities in business because it gives you cash flow security
Join the Cashflow College
Worrying about cash flow becomes a burden. It’s stressful being concerned about paying your own bills. You can’t concentrate on building your business and giving your customers a great experience.
Led by Rachael, The Cashflow Queen, the Cashflow College is your access to Rachael’s over 20 years’ experience in getting paid on time, the processes and procedures you need in place to help this happen and the techniques needed to empower you to do this every time you raise an invoice.