Lewis' Posts - Lewis' Blog
It's always about them not us. They don't care what we think about ourselves; they care about what we can do for them. So we first have to figure that out.
To a great extent this should have been discovered when you wrote your business plan, assuming you wrote one. And then it is adjusted based on your annual strategic plans, assuming you write them. The results of that work define your target markets as narrowly as possible. Think of it as painting a picture of your customers that shows you what they look like, how they think and why they might be interested in buying from you. What motivates and inspires them?
We're talking about research that, unless we have deep pockets, we will need to conduct ourselves. If you sell to other businesses, much of the work today can be done online using data bases such as Dun & Bradstreet or Hoovers. They provide the raw data that tells us the shape and direction of business. We should also research our market's advertising, which tells us something about the business culture and may tell us who that business is targeting. If we don't know that, why would that business hire us? An innovative approach is to find and talk with folks who know the people and the product side of the business we want to sell to. We find them in professional and trade organizations and in Chambers.
But if you sell to consumers, you need to get to know them face-to-face, or use surveys, or use focus groups or watch their behavior when they shop at your competitor's place of business. The bottom line is talk to them.
Once we have narrowly defined our target markets and know as much about what they look like as we know ourselves we then can create messages that stick with our potential clients because they discuss our potentials clients' wants, needs and desires and they resonate with them.
We try to reach out to these clients by sharing stories or narratives. We may do so by sharing our own stories of struggle and success, stories of other businesses, or stories about how our clients were helped by our efforts. The tools we use are:
. Sales Letters
. Sell Sheets
. White Papers
. Post Cards
. Public Relations
All the time that we are creating these messages, we remember that small and large businesses have the same objective: to grow customers and their bottom lines. Your bottom line: Know who your customers are, what they look like, and what they want and need from you, then sell a solution to meet that want or need, not a product or service.