Do You Really Know Your Customer? A Q&A on Creating your Buyer Persona
I have a love and hate relationship with the internet…
I love it because it’s such a great place to learn about anything…and I mean anything. You want to be a bongo expert, GREAT…here’s a link. You want to master how to play poker…you can do that too, right here.
But it gets much harder when you have to find someone to sell your stuff to people on the web.
And that also brings me to why I hate the internet…there is no shortage of advice on how to make money online.
The truth is, it’s actually not that easy!
Your customers don’t know you…you didn’t even exist in their mind just yesterday, and now you want them to put in your credit card information.
It’s like asking a girl to marry you on the first date. She’ll most likely say no, and the one that does say yes…you probably don’t want to marry them anyways.
That’s why at My Online Business, we spend a TON of time just getting to know our customers, understand them and figuring out how we can help them. We’re not interested in making a quick buck and helping you get rich overnight. If you’re looking for that, I suggest you close your browser and leave this website…we’re not a good fit.
We believe in developing a relationship. That’s why we spend months researching before we post any information on our website because we know that it’ll be the best information available anywhere on the web.
And we want you to do the same for all your readers too. Create a business you can be proud of and learn about your customers.
But to help your customers, you have to first find out who they are.
That’s what I’m going to show you today, exactly how to do that by creating something called an Ideal Client Profile or your Buyer Persona. This is your perfect customer.
Marketers have used this principle for decades and it’s a time tested idea which works to this day.
Imagine you’re sitting down on a sunday to watch a football game. You have all your buddies around, you ordered some pizza and now it’s time to turn on the tv for the game. Right as the game is about to start, they jump to a commercial.
UGH! Those things are annoying…and to make it worse, it’s a commercial about kitchenaid.
You completely ignore it and try to find the game on a different channel.
I want you to pause there for a moment…and think about why you would switch the channel.
Sure, commercials are annoying, but what’s worse is that the commercial had nothing to do with the people who would be watching the game at that time.
Guys simply don’t care about kitchenaid.
The company just spent millions of dollars advertising to the wrong people.
They simply didn’t know who their customers were…they didn’t have an ideal customer in mind. Instead, they wasted money and advertised to everyone.
How to find your Ideal Customer
So, let’s figure out an Ideal Client Profile or your Buyer Persona for someone who’ll be watching the football game. Here’s we to know:
Family Size: 2 kids and wife
What do they watch/read: ESPN, Sportscenter, Golf Magazines
Profession: Some have corporate jobs (accountants, lawyers)
Friendship: They’ve mostly been friends since college. They meet every sunday during the football season and have a guys night out
HMM. See how their customer isn’t everyone?
The ad commercial missed these because guys don’t care at all about kitchenaid. Their customers are women in their mid 30s with children…and they certainly won’t be watching football on sunday. And yet, they continue to show these type of ads and waste millions of dollars.
WHAT A WASTE!
If you want your business to have any chance of survival after 5 years, you MUST avoid doing this.
Let’s go through a few of the most common questions I get asked about Buyer Personas and how you can make one for your own business.
Q: How do we go about creating a buyer persona?
Doctor Daigle: A great start would to be to think about your ideal customer. To help you figure out who that might be, just answer a few of these questions like this about your customer to help you get started…
- What’s their demographic?
- Are they male or female?
- How old are they?
- What professional or industry associations are they part of?
- What do they read? What websites, blogs or news sources?
- What’s their education level?
- Describe their personality?
- What are their biggest concerns at the moment? Why do they need your product?
- What are their aspirations? What do they want most of all?
You can download the entire buyer persona worksheet that we use at My Online Business that helped us get clear on who our customers are and generate thousands of dollars in revenue.
Q: What should I ask them?
Doctor Daigle: This is a GREAT question! I wish more people asked this question…
Once you’ve answered the questions about your ideal client, you’ll have an idea on who your customers are…but that doesn’t mean that all your answers are correct.
Once you’ve completed the ideal client profile, you’ve narrowed down on paper who your customers are, what their hopes, fears and dreams are. Now it’s time to confirm your hypothesis.
Here’s the part that differentiates a successful business to one that just “dreams” about making money and starts advertising everywhere….
You’ll need to go out and talk to these people!
SHOCK!! I know.
This scares most people…
”WHOA, you didn’t say I had to talk to them. Can’t I just do my research online?”
Sure, you can find a lot about your customers online, but that’s just a start. Would you share your fears, concerns and aspirations to a random person on a forum or over email?
If you’re really serious about helping your readers, you’ll need to be their friend first and listen. Don’t just tell them to buy your product, find out about their hopes, fears and dreams. Help them first and show them that you really care.
They’re just dying to talk about their problems but no one listens to them. Let’s take you for example, when was the last time someone was sincerely and genuinely interested in listening to your problems? When you found someone who did, how did that make you feel?
If you can be that person that listens…they’ll be more than happy pay you!
Here’s how you get started…
Once you find people that matches your ideal client profile, you want to learn about their life, learn about their challenges…and don’t even TRY to sell!
Let’s go through an example. Let’s say you’re starting a consulting business teaching 40-55 year old men how to get in shape…
Here’s how that conversation might go:
Prospect: You know, I’ve been struggling losing this weight. I remember looking at my old pictures from my younger days and think about how good I used to look.
You: Ohh, that’s interesting. I’ve been thinking about creating a service on helping men get in shape, so that they can look and feel as confident as they did in their 20s.
Prospect: That’s great! I’d love the help…but I don’t even know where to start. There are just so much information on the web and I’ve tried a few programs before but didn’t keep up with it.
You: That’s interesting. Have you even paid for anything like this before? (Notice I’m not selling my service. I’m just asking to find out how big of a concern this is for them. If they’ve paid for this service in the past, there’s a good chance they’ll pay it again. They cared enough about it to pay for it. If they haven’t paid for it, that’s not a bad thing. Notice their facial expression)
Possible Prospect Answer 1: I’d never pay someone for this, I can just do it on my own (If they say this, then you know that it’s not an important issue for them to pay for your service. If you talk to 10 people and they all say this, you know you need to come up with another idea. You just validated your idea and saved yourself 6 months of something that was never going to pay a dime)
Possible Prospect Answer 2: Yea, I’ve paid for a trainer before…but it didn’t work (This is great. You know that he’s willing to pay to have his problem solved)
You: So how do you think about a budget? (Notice you’re still not asking them to buy your product
Prospect Answer 1: Ohh you know, I paid him $500 for 3 sessions (This gives you an idea on what the client might be willing to pay for this service)
Possible Prospect Answer 2: I wasn’t sure if they were any good, so I did a trial period (This tells you that the client prefers to try out the service first before committing)
You: How high of a priority is this for you?
Possible Prospect Answer 1: Ohh yea, I’d do anything to get back in shape again (You know that they care DEEPLY about this problem and wants to have it solved)
Possible Prospect Answer 2: Well…you know…I think about it but I should invest that money in renovating my house (Anytime they say well…that’s a bad sign. Meaning, it’s not a burning pain point for them)
You: When you thought about hiring a personal trainer, what are some of the factors and criterias you used whether they’re good or not? (Once you ask this….be SILENT and LET THEM TALK. They’re just about to share what they look for when hiring a trainer)
You: You know, when you think back to the personal trainers you hired in the past, what were some of your biggest frustrations? (This is HUGE. THey’ll tell you the barriers they have before making a sale)
Everytime you ask these questions, you find out more and more about what your prospects are looking for. They’ll give you every conceivable answer about their hopes, fears and dreams and you can use that to solve their problems.
Q: What’s the biggest mistake you can make in determining your buyer persona?
Doctor Daigle: The biggest mistake would be not creating the Buyer Persona in the first place because you think you know your customers inside out just because you’ve been in your niche for a while.
STOP! Write this stuff down and go through the exercise.
Wouldn’t you rather find out that your idea won’t generate you single dime after spending a week talking to 3 people, than wasting 6 months after you spend thousands of dollars on web design, email funnels and hiring people?
If you want to learn the exact steps we took to create our Buyer Persona at My Online Business, check out our course Small List Big Profit. We take you through each step… from creating your buyer persona to launching a course that’ll help your customers and generate profit from it.