Could you tell me who your customers are?

If I came up to you today and asked you “who are your customers?” What would you say to me? Would you tell me “anyone who walks through that door?” How would you react if I told you that’s not who your customer is?

Sure, you don’t want to turn down a purchase or service request that lands in your lap, but when you try and say that anyone is your customer, you’re really focusing on no one. Think about this – you don’t approach conversations with everyone in your life the same way, do you? I don’t talk to my local butcher the same way I talk to my child’s daycare provider, or my mother the same way I talk to my spouse. Each of those relationships dictates how your conversations go.

hardware store owner and customer

The same goes for customers. You can’t speak to everyone you engage with in the exact same manner, because they don’t connect with you or your brand in the same manner. Every business, whether they understand it or not, has customer segments; that is, different groups of customers, who each have their own drivers to purchase from or engage with you.

To talk to these different groups effectively, it’s necessary to first identify who they are. For instance, a local coffee shop will serve anyone who walks in the door, but they market for subgroups. There’s the coffee aficionado, who values a high quality coffee with depth to the flavor and a bloom to the pour; there is the non-coffee drinking individual who loves the ambiance of the space; and there are those who don’t really care for coffee as a standalone, and would never buy a pour over, but enjoy unique and flavorful lattes.

Each of these customer groups require different conversations. The first might want to hear about how you personally travel to source aromatic and flavorful beans from around the world; the second may want to learn about your cozy atmosphere and variety of drink options; and the third wants to find out about your seasonal drinks as soon as they hit the bar.

Think about who you serve: what kinds of customers approach your business? You may have only 1 or 2 types; or you might realize you have 5 or more. Try and break them down into manageable groupings, then think about how you would talk to each group if you were to sit down at a table with them.

Does that seem daunting? How do you actually talk to these groups? Each group is still made up of different people! Ah yes, but it is possible to identify an archetype for each segment.

A common practice is to create a “customer profile.” You choose a customer segment, let’s say the coffee aficionado. What kind of person does that seem to be for the business? We would start with some very broad characteristics: What is their age? What kind of education or job do they have? Do they typically have children? What lifestyle habits, or beliefs?

As you identify these characteristics, you start to create an imaginary person that represents the group. But creating this person better enables you to speak to your group. Now you can talk to them on a more personal level – you know what (general) kind of things they probably like, how they spend their money, and where they hang out. This makes it easier to target them for conversations.

So; why not try making a profile for your largest customer segment? Download our free worksheet to help you out with this task!