How to identify your ideal customer

  • 05 Mar 2019
  • By Helen Phillips
  • Read in 9 Minutes

How to identify your ideal customer

Are you running around at the beck and call of customers who don’t appreciate you?

Do you feel that finding customers is like trying to find a needle in a haystack?

People often start a business because they love what they do, and they are good at it.  You are desperate to show the world how much you care, and what a great job you can do for them.  You don’t want to miss any opportunities, and you are still trying to understand the limits of what you can do – you may even refuse to accept there are any limits. For those of us who remember “Boys from the Black Stuff”, in the words of Yosser Hughes – “I can do that – gizza job”

Whilst in the early days you might have done this to pay the mortgage, a common theme with my clients is that they end up working with the wrong clients or wasting hours chasing down customers who are not in the market to buy.

I’ve done it myself in the past – I have a passion for helping people achieve their potential and can’t resist giving advice to people that need it. But we have to recognise that fundamentally, most of us are in business to give ourselves the lifestyle we aspire to – whether that is simply being able to pay the mortgage and providing for our families or sailing around the world in a great big yacht.

So – how do I find my ideal customer?

The questions I ask my clients are:

  • What do you do when you are at your very best?
  • Who is going to get the most value from it?
  • How big a share of that value do you need to ask for so you can make a decent living?

What do you do when you are at your very best?

The first question is really important – not “what can I do?”, but “what do I really love doing?” Being in business is really hard, which is why you have to love what you do. If you don’t it will show, and you will fail to convince your potential customers.

My client, Chris Connor of Glo, is passionate about technology and how it can make a real difference to his customers’ lives.  We helped him look at the characteristics of the customers he really loved working with – customers who understand the value that technology can add to their business, and want to invest to improve the businesses – and helped him identify how to deal with those customers who see technology as a cost or obligation.  As a result, he has been able to explain to his customers how to get the best out of their working relationship, and many of them have gone from “Class C” to “Class A” customers.

Who is going to get the most value from it?

The second question is just as important – just because someone could use your product or service, it doesn’t mean they should, or will.  They’ll only want to buy from you if your product or service adds significant value or takes away some pain.

Another client has an excellent software package, which could be used in almost any business, but in the case of smaller businesses, the business owner should be sufficiently close to the customer interface that they don’t need software to tell them something they know already.   We’ve helped the client create a detailed model of their ideal customer, so that their marketing effort is focused and cost-effective.

How big a share of that value do you need to ask for so you can make a decent living?

This point is about affordability – what a customer is prepared to pay for your product is related to the perceived value they get from that product. They will have made more money as a result of using your product or service, and it would be reasonable for you to have a share of that.  On the other hand, if you need to take a significant share of that value to make a decent living, the customer is unlikely to pay the price you want.

We’ve helped our clients to quantify the benefits of their products and services to their ideal customer. They can then use this information to design a pricing strategy that works and to home in on the customers who are going to get a significant return on their investment.

How can I apply this knowledge in my business?

When you understand the answers to these questions, you can target your customers with a laser-sharp focus and enjoy the process of talking to prospects who value what you do as much as you love to do it.

Mustard enables owner-managed businesses to realise their potential so that they have more time, more money and more fun. We’ve been there and done it ourselves. We’ve done the research for you and have some great tools to guide you through the process of identifying what you should be doing and to whom you should be selling. Contact us today for more information.

Curious to know how Mustard could help your business?

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