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Determining Your Ideal Customer

Follow this advice to find the perfect audience for your business.
January 17, 2005
URL: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/75648

Every entrepreneur should be intensely focused on his or her prospective customers. The ability to find a customer, sell your product or service to that customer, and satisfy the customer so that he buys from you again should be the central focus of all entrepreneurial activity. The greater clarity you have with regard to your ideal customer, the more focused and effective your marketing efforts will be.

Everyone is in the business of customer satisfaction in some way. The most important activity of any entrepreneur is to clearly identify the very best customers for your product or service, and then focus all marketing, advertising and sales efforts on this particular type of customer.

Here are some tips to help you find your business's ideal customers:

1. Define your product or service from the customer's point of view. What does your product do for your ideal customer? What problems does your product solve for your customer? What needs of your customer does your product satisfy? How does your product improve your customer's life or work?

2. Define the ideal customer for what you sell. What is his or her age, education, occupation or business? What is his or her income or financial situation? What is his or her situation today in life or work?

3. Determine the specific benefits your customer is seeking in buying your product. Of all the benefits you offer, which are the most important to your ideal customer? What are the most pressing needs that your product or service satisfies? Why should your customer buy from you rather than from someone else?

4. Determine the location of your exact customer. Where is your customer located geographically? Where does your customer live or work? Where is your customer when he or she buys your product or service?

5. Determine exactly when your ideal customer buys your product or service. What has to happen in the life or work of your customer for him to buy your product? What time of year, season, month or week does your customer buy?

6. Determine your customer's buying strategy. How does your customer buy your product or service? How has your customer bought similar products or services in the past? What is your customer's buying strategy? How does your customer go about making a buying decision for your product?

Imagine placing an ad in the newspaper for your perfect customer. How would you describe your perfect customer? What prospective customers are the most likely to buy your product or service immediately? What are the most important qualities that your ideal customer would have?

Your ability to clearly define and determine the very best customer for your product or service will determine your success in business. How could you find more perfect customers for your product? How could you create new customers for your product? Define your unique selling proposition and communicate this key benefit in every customer contact.

Most entrepreneurs aren't clear about their ideal customer. For this reason, they waste a lot of time and money trying to sell their product to people who aren't good potential customers.

Your ability to clearly define and focus in on the customers who can most rapidly buy your product or service will be essential to your business success.

Brian Tracy is the "Success Secrets" coach at Entrepreneur.comand one of America's leading authoritieson entrepreneurial development. He's produced more than 300 audio and video learning programs that cover the entire spectrum of human and corporate performance through his company, Brian Tracy International.