Get Inside Your Customers' Heads with These Four Questions

Starting a business can seem like an easy task when you have an idea you love. It’s kept you up late at night (in a good way), thinking about what your logo might look like, what products you could make, maybe even what kind of chairs you want to have in your store or office. Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs overlook one of the most important aspects of their business when they’re getting ready to launch – their customers. You already love your idea, but how are you going to make potential customers love it?

Think through these four questions to develop a stronger idea of exactly who you plan on selling to – and how you’ll make them fall in love with your idea, just like you have.

  1. What does your ideal customer look like? Figuring out your customer demographics starts at the most basic level. When you think about your ideal customer, what do they look like? If you’re planning on launching a new sneaker line, you’re probably looking to sell to a younger audience than to people living in retirement homes. Your first instinct may be to say “oh, my business is so great everyone is going to want to give me their money!” We absolutely hope you’re that successful, but when you’re just starting out, having a clear picture of what your ideal customer looks like, where they live, how old they are, and other demographic details can help you hone in on who you should focus on.

  2. What does your ideal customer care about? Going back to the shoe example, you’re going to have a hard time selling high-tops to construction workers. (They need steel-toes in their footwear, after all). Try jotting down some of the beliefs, hobbies, interests, and opinions of your ideal customer. If you’re having a hard time getting in that headspace, track someone down who you think would be interested in your product and ask them! Friends, family members, people who follow you on social media – all of these groups can be a great jumping off point for this type of psychographic research.

  3. Why would they shop at your business? The third question on this list is when you start to put the pieces together. You know what you have to offer and now you have a better idea of who your customers might be… so what’s going to make them choose you over your competition? Thinking about sneakers again, businesses have tried highly paid spokespeople, new technologies like air pumps, and crossovers with other brands and artists to try to move shoes. Those avenues may not make sense for your new business, but you are offering something that’s different than the rest of the marketplace in a way that matters to your ideal customer. Find the thing that separates you from the competition to those people and you’re on your way to success.

  4. How do you inspire them to buy from you? When you know what sets you apart, the question becomes how do you convince your potential customers to fall in love with your business the way you have? It’s a tough question to answer and the marketing and advertising industries exist to help solve this problem for entrepreneurs and businesses. You may want to choose that route down the road but while you’re getting started, you don’t need them just yet. Trust yourself. You know your product, you know why you love it. Trust yourself to know why other people will. Trust yourself to find the right people to ask about your product and trust yourself to find the right message to connect with your audience. Trust yourself to revisit this question, to keep tweaking your messaging, to keep working to find the best way to communicate exactly what you love about your idea to the people who need it the most.

Once you have solid answers to those four questions, you have more than an idea of who you’ll be selling your product or business to. You have an idea of how you’ll go about doing it. If you’re struggling to figure out how to think of just one version of an ideal buyer – that’s great! Run through the exercise again, targeting different versions of your future customers. Most businesses have two or three versions of their ‘perfect customer.’

Skysthelimit.org has developed a tool to help you track all the different versions of your target audience. We call it our Customer Messaging Matrix and it is one of the many tools we offer for free to entrepreneurs through our Pathway to Business Ownership. Create a free account at skysthelimit.org to download the Pathway to Business Ownership today and receive access to the Customer Messaging Matrix and the rest of Launch 4, our four-step guide to launching your business.

Are you ready to take your business to the next level?

Alex Jonathan Brown