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Hopefully your business has spent a lot of time defining what makes it unique. It might be a unique product, your first class service, competitive pricing, or something else.

“Hopefully” is a big word….. it amazes me even now how often I ask the businesses I work with “Who is your ideal customer?” and the answer is, “Anyone who will buy from me!”

Most sales people have experienced a bad customer. You invest huge amounts of your time working with them, provide the best service you can and yet despite all this, they’re never happy.

Not only is this demoralising for your staff, it’s also costing your business time, money, resources and possibly damaging your reputation.

Customers that aren’t a good fit cost money, time, and frustration.

Customers that are a good fit speed up the sales process, increase profits, and improve employee satisfaction.

The key to finding the right customers is knowing who not to sell to. In theory, an Ideal Customer Profile is simple. It defines which customers are a good fit for your services and products and which ones are not, but in practice, this can be a bit tricky.

Once you’ve developed an ideal customer profile, it doesn’t mean you can’t say yes to customers outside of it or the profile can’t develop as your business evolves.

BUT…. No One’s Ideal Customer Is ‘Everyone’

As you refine who your ideal customer is, you’ll also define who you shouldn’t be selling to. You could consider aspects such as:

Demographic Characteristics
• Age
• Location
• Company size
• Structure
• Yearly revenue
• Industry(ies)
• Marketing budget

Personality Types
• What is their communication style?
• Where do they go to find new information?
• What social networks do they frequent?
• What conferences do they attend?

Goals and challenges
• What is their biggest challenge?
• What are the common pain points?
• What knowledge gaps do they have?
• What are their job responsibilities?
• How do they define success?

How Do You Start To Define Your Ideal Customer?

1. Start with the business value.
First and foremost, you need to understand what value you’re providing. Customers don’t buy products…. they buy results. When you visit a DIY store to buy a ½ inch drill bit, it’s because what you actually need is a ½ inch hole.

When you think about how great your products or services are, you should be considering what the end result is……. For the customer! This will help you narrow down who your ideal client might be but also who not to sell to.

When you look at your own business, what results do your customers want? What is that you provide that helps them achieve that?

2. Your ideal customers will have similar company values to your own.
Just as your employees influence your business culture, your customers will influence your sales culture. If your sales team is working with customers who are difficult, unreasonable, or even downright abusive, your office morale will nose dive.
Choosing customers that have a similar culture to your own will help you ensure that you can maintain a healthy, trustworthy and productive relationship.

3. Watch out for “show stoppers”
In the same way that we define the characteristics of an ideal customer, we can also define what you don’t want in a customer. If you sell desktop based software, then we can ignore any potential customers who only want cloud based applications.

Understanding which customers aren’t a good fit for you is just as important as knowing which ones are. Get this right, and you’ll avoid huge amounts of wasted time, wasted effort and personal frustration.