I know this may seem obvious. But I’m surprised how some small business owners just don’t do their homework and drop the ball on this one.
I’ve been in the marketing business for better than 40+ years now. And in my opinion getting to know your prospect is a critical part of success. I’d go so far as to say that it is the number one secret to creating, writing and executing a successful promotion.
Many years ago, when I was just getting started and struggling to make ends meet, I realized the importance of not only meeting and knowing people, but learning things about them and using this information to build my business.
I got in the habit of jotting notes on index cards for every contact, person or customer. I kept these index cards in alphabetical order in a metal file box. And whenever I had some kind of contact with that person, I would routinely go to the file box, pull out the card and “update” my information.
Here is an example of what I’m talking about:
Director of Marketing – McCann Plastics – Lakeview, OH
Met at Chamber of Commerce Dinner (February, 1975)
Married, lives in Shaker Heights, daughters attend St. Joseph Academy
Xavier University graduate (Business major)
Likes to play the horses, low handicap golfer, conservative political ideology, grew up in Akron, Browns fan, brother Jack is Columbus city councilman
Created b-to-b control package for McCann using stickers (Summer, 1975)
Created test packages to beat control (March, 1976)
McCann switched ad agencies (Summer, 1976) Relocated to bigger facility (Fall, 1976)
Sent him 4 tickets to Browns-Steelers game (1976) and Xavier basketball game (1977)
From this example you can see that I kept fairly detailed notes about the people I worked with and for. Because of this, I actually got to know the real Rick Manning, right on down to his political affiliations, where his kids went to school and his favorite pro team (Browns). He was a client and became a personal friend of mine who used my services for years, even after switching jobs a few times.
The same thing applies to your customers, clients or patients. When you know who you are selling to, you can create a specific marketing campaign that gets past your prospect’s natural resistance to selling. It allows you to match what you are selling to what they want.
You can increase sales and give your promotion an edge over competitors who don’t take the time to know and understand your prospect.
Plus, you’ll be able to connect with your prospects and customers on a deeper level – which means not only will you be able to sell to them, you’ll be able to turn them into loyal customers in the long-run.
The tricky part is that when you are selling online or through direct mail you can’t see who you are talking to. You can’t see their age or gender or what kind of car they are driving, like you would if you were selling to them face-to-face.
So what do you need to understand and look for? There are multiple layers to your prospect:
• This covers things such as your prospect’s age, gender, income, and education. For instance, you might uncover that your ideal prospect is male, aged 40-50 years old, earns $100,000, and has a 4-year college degree.
• This digs into where your prospects live such as the city, state, and country. This can be broken down even further to specific neighborhoods or types of areas, for instance rural vs. city.
• Here’s where you dig into your target market’s attitudes, values, beliefs, and lifestyles. What they desire and what keeps them up at night. What their religious, political and other beliefs are and so forth.
Learn all you can about the people you are selling to. Find out what makes them tick. Because if you want people to buy your products and services, you have to know what makes them motivated and what will make them take action.
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