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Do you really know your target customers and what they want?

In my last blog (October 30th, 2014) I discussed how most business structures can be broken down into about three core elements - including the first element which is identification of your target customer types.

Today, I am going to examine that particular aspect of business structure in more detail. Do you really know your target customers and what they want?

Many business owners don't seem to be especially discerning about the customers they particularly want to win. They seem to be content to work for any customer who calls them or who walks through their front door. They don't seem to put any great effort into targeting customers who they will enjoy working with, represent a 'good fit' for their services or will necessarily be particularly profitable for them. It often seems to be strangely 'random'.

Do you want the same type of customers you have always had? 

Are some of your potential target customers 'better' (more profitable) to you than others? Maybe you should break your customer types down into 'A' - 'B' - 'C' types. Maybe you should be particularly targeting the 'A' and (perhaps) 'B' types? Maybe you should be separating what you offer those different customer types different service levels (and stop over-delivering and under-charging)?

Once you have separated and targeted your customers - what are your people going to say to them?

Are you selling your customers a 'drill' or are you selling 'the hole in the wall'? 

Too often I see businesses who over-focus in their sales pitch on the technical aspects of what they do (they sell the 'drill') - rather than really concentrating on what their target customer actually needs or wants. Those customers often don't care about your 'drill' - they just want a 'hole in their wall'! 

Worse still - many businesses continue to concentrate in their value proposition on saying what their customers would obviously EXPECT from them, rather than what they will actually VALUE. Typical examples of such 'lazy and generic' value propositions include phrases like:

- 'We offer a hands on service' = EXPECT.  Question why would I want a 'hands off' service?

- 'We are reliable' = EXPECT.  Question - why would I want unreliable?

- 'We are responsive' = EXPECT.  Question - why would I want unresponsive?

- 'We offer a high quality product' = EXPECT.  Question - why would I want anything less than high quality?

Once you have identified your target customers you need to work on a clearly differentiated 'Value Promise' to them. That message ideally needs to be considered from 3 viewpoints:

1- Is what you are saying something of VALUE  to your customer or something they would EXPECT from you? If you want to 'hit your targets between the eyes' it must be the former and not the latter (otherwise you will have a 'me too' value proposition - and probably be under price-pressure).

2- Is what you are saying something where you are BETTER than the competition or is it something where you are no better than EQUAL TO (or perhaps WORSE) than your competitors? 

Your Value Promise to your Target Customers needs to be something that they VALUE and where you are BETTER than the competition. What is it? Do your people use this message consistently? Does your website say this too (clearly)?

3- Having established the above key message - can you actually DEMONSTRATE that what you are saying is true? Or is your message just more 'marketing driven B***S***'?

If you want to maximize your business potential, ask yourself - how well are you targeting your potential customers - and do you really know what they want and will value? Are you trying to sell them a 'drill' or are you selling them 'the hole in the wall' that they really want and need?




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