Paul Beaumont column: What does your ideal customer look like?

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In my capacity as a hands on business advisor and coach I see many very intelligent business leaders who spend considerable amounts of money running telemarketing campaigns, printing newsletters or attending trade shows.

Often there is one thing that is common to all of these people.

That is that they are usually disappointed in the response they have received and they ultimately don’t get the number of leads that they expected from the campaign.

So why is this the case?

Why are most people ultimately unhappy with their return on investment when it comes to lead generation programmes?

In my experience it is very often due to the fact that they don’t spend time researching what type of customer they really should be targeting.

A simple exercise looking at the profile of your ideal customer and then targeting your resources at potential customers that fit that profile will increase the return on any such investment multiple times.

What industry sector(s) does your business have the most customers in?

If you can show continued success in a particular market sector and have case studies and references to share with a new prospect you will increase your chance of doing business with them by a huge percentage.

What particular size of customer do you have the most success in closing?

If all your customers have revenues between half-a-million and £1m why target new business prospects with £100m of revenue?

If you don’t have the track record at that level you are unlikely to win new business in this size of prospect (it doesn’t mean to say that you can’t work up to this size of customer, but be realistic).

What geographic spread do you want new clients to be in?

If you are providing a relatively low value service or product but will need to visit the client’s site to sell, install or have other types of meetings do you really want to (and can afford) to travel to the other end of the country?

Will prospects 200 miles away take you seriously when they can buy a similar product from someone else 5 miles away at a similar price?

If you take the time to understand what your ideal customer looks like and then target prospects that meet this profile you will be much more successful in gaining initial meetings with prospects, you will stand a lot better chance of closing the business and you will probably find it a lot easier to deliver to them, especially if you are a service provider of some sort. You will also find that the business is ultimately more profitable as well.

A little time spent understanding you ideal customer is time extremely well invested.