How to know your Customer

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How to know you customer seems obvious doesn’t it?  You meet them, you speak to them and you engage with them.  This has been the way it’s been for eons.  You find what they want and fill that need.  Long before social media it was word of mouth and maybe leaflets or even sandwich boards, but still the important thing was to meet them.

Time and time again I meet with overwhelmed, frustrated business owners who struggle to reach their audience. They know who their customer is but yet they can’t find them.  They tell me they have done Facebook ads, printed out fliers and put up a video or two in Youtube about what they do.  These are all important parts of a working marketing machine but what a lot of businesses fail to do now is put themselves out there personally.  By this I mean meeting people via networking, going to fairs, joining your local Chamber of Commerce or taking part in courses and networking with your Local Enterprise Office.

Melanie’s Rant

I was at an event recently where there were speakers during the day and then networking in the evening with attendees and also the speakers and several people (notably mostly women) said they wouldn’t go to the networking.  When I asked why, they said they were on their own.  I felt very frustrated by this!  I’m a woman and I was there on my own too but to pass up an opportunity to speak to people who would benefit me or be my target audience would be insane!  I was once very nervous and unsure about what direction my business should go but after a few hiccups, I started making connections and found a few familiar faces at each event I went to.  The only way to build confidence in your product or service is to HAVE confidence in it.  If you can make it out on a days talks on your own, then surely going to a networking event to benefit you even more would be easy?

End Rant

What we all need to do

The days of “You build it, they will come” are long over.  Since we are now part of a Global market there are just too many people to reach.  Depending on your business you will still need to reach the “right” people.  If you sell internationally, then of course it’s difficult to meet people but you can still build a relationship with people through conventional channels by attending export / import events or you actually travel to the countries you’re targeting.  Alternatively you can reach some of your target audience through Livestreaming.  Blab and Periscope are essential in this respect as so many people can see you and communicate with you at once.

If however you are nationally based then it becomes a lot easier.  Take a notepad and pen and write down all of your local networking opportunities via the LEO and Chamber and then check out LinkedIn for the local networks being arranged outside of those.  Then come up with an Elevator Pitch!

What is an Elevator Pitch?

Simply put an elevator pitch is a couple of sentences that you get to succinctly tell people who you are and what you do.  These are really handy for networking occasions and when you only get the time to say it and hand them a business card.    It mustn’t be jargon and must answer a problem.  I have a great article to share with you in creating yours, please read it carefully as it’s full of great information!

End of Blog Thoughts…

I would of course say social media is important, but it is NOT the most important part of your business.  Knowing your customer, excellent service, going that extra yard and responding to questions/queries are vital to having a successful business.  Please don’t throw all of your efforts into social media or fliers, etc.  There really is real people you can meet, greet and relate too if you just gave yourself the chance to.

  1. Have a product or service you believe in
  2. Create an elevator pitch
  3. Go to networking events or speak to people in a queue about your business
  4. No one gets it right all the time, accept the blows!
  5. Keep trying
  6. Then do a bit of social media to follow up what you have said to people.

“People sell to People”

If I can help any business, large or small with any of this let me know.  If you want a “wingman” at an event let me know too!

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23 Comments

  1. Jennifer Quisenberry May 12, 2016 7:23 pm 

    I also find that the events I don’t really feel motivated to attend yet make myself go are the ones where I get the most value and / or meet the most interesting people.

  2. Nicki May 12, 2016 7:51 pm 

    SO true! I loved your rant – and must admit I was one of those ‘shy’ people too – but you are right the only way is to get out there face to face and engage with people and make real connections – meaningful connections!

  3. Melanie Boylan May 12, 2016 8:27 pm 

    That’s the point definitely, meaningful connections. Thanks Nicki

  4. Melanie Boylan May 12, 2016 8:32 pm 

    Lol, I have come across that myself, very frustrating to know which ones to get too. Thanks for your comment 🙂

  5. Robin May 12, 2016 11:27 pm 

    Great food for thought! Great Post!

  6. Brenda Niemeyer May 13, 2016 2:07 am 

    Had to laugh at the rant section. I get it. If you believe in what you are selling get out there and share it. 🙂 I have been working to build my business online for a number of reasons, but keep thinking I should join the local Chamber. Thanks for the encouragement. They do monthly networking socials. You are right. In person connections are immensely valuable!

  7. Melanie Boylan May 13, 2016 6:56 pm 

    Thanks so much Brenda, I need to join my local chamber too, I moved last August and still haven’t got round to it. I am part of the local networks though, there’s several opportunities thankfully locally. Thanks for your comment!

  8. Melanie Boylan May 13, 2016 6:57 pm 

    Thanks very much Robin 🙂

  9. Alene A Geed May 13, 2016 7:18 pm 

    I agree completely. I run into people all the time that think they can build a business just by offering product via newsletter or email. This may work occasionally but we all want to work with someone we trust and know. Networking in person is vital to any business.

  10. Meghan Monaghan May 13, 2016 7:35 pm 

    You really do have to start with your product that you believe in, Melanie. And then comes the marketing and networking. It’s much easier to speak quite fondly of something you stand behind than trying to force it, so love what you want to sell to others because you think it will make their lives better. There’s need everywhere for what you have to offer. You just have to find your audience and know how to speak to them.

  11. Melanie Boylan May 13, 2016 9:23 pm 

    Thanks Meghan, yes absolutely, but I do think we all need to go through this process in order to grow with the business. It feels so different when it’s your own. I also had no previous experience in working for myself or knowledge of the Irish market (I am British and moved here 8 years ago) so personally that was another stumbling block I had to overcome! That’s why I feel it’s so essential to ask for help from the agencies that are around to support you. Thanks for your comment!

  12. Melanie Boylan May 13, 2016 9:24 pm 

    Thanks Alene – people sell to people 🙂

  13. Roslyn Tanner Evans May 13, 2016 11:11 pm 

    I cut out live networking because distance or early morning time. Just wasnt worth it to me. Then many groups I would try again became membership based with huge costs.

  14. Kristen Wilson May 14, 2016 2:37 am 

    Yep… that is exactly what I did… when I moved to a new state (Tx) and started my biz, networking meetings was what got me out there, helped my build my business, learn about businesses, mine and others and even helped me to meet people in the new state.

  15. Mui Tsun May 14, 2016 10:47 am 

    A few years back I joined a few networking groups and I must admit networking is just not for me. Perhaps it says more about those groups rather than networking in general, but I found that everyone was more interested in selling their stuff than building relationships. I was totally put off by networking. Nowadays all my leads come from online. And I don’t yet feel a need to start networking again. Maybe I’m the odd-one-out? 🙂

  16. Jessica May 14, 2016 6:55 pm 

    These are such good thoughts. I actually love networking events because I enjoy meeting people and socializing. I’m just now starting to get the elevator pitch part down. I think a lot of that has to do with gaining confidence about who I am and what I have to offer.

  17. Christy Soukhamneut May 15, 2016 7:53 pm 

    Excellent advice. There is no need to be nervous, everyone there has been in that position, I find people are generally very helpful.

  18. Melanie Boylan May 15, 2016 9:19 pm 

    Very true Christy, I guess we all feel very isolated at the beginning of a new venture, I know I certainly did at the beginning. Thanks for popping over.

  19. Melanie Boylan May 16, 2016 4:38 am 

    That’s a real shame you had such an unsettling experience with your networking, I have also been to groups like that too. All I can think of is that it was the wrong type of group to network with. I used to go to small local ones and stopped going for that very reason. I am B2B but it still needs to be the right ones. If however you’re still busy after getting all of your enquiries online then it must work for you. 🙂 I only wanted to emphasise the social aspect as some people neglect it altogether.

  20. Melanie Boylan May 16, 2016 4:40 am 

    Yes, I have to do it all over again as well as I have just moved area and lost all my old networks! Well not lost, I still go back to my old stomping ground but it is considerably less convenient doing that, so had to start from scratch again! I certainly more confident doing it again though after all the previous practice. Thanks for your comment Kristen 🙂

  21. Melanie Boylan May 16, 2016 4:42 am 

    OH gosh yes I have noticed that too. There is the BNI that so many people say I should be a part of but frankly the cost and the commitment of EVERY week going was a little too steep for me. I have managed so far without them though. I now network more at conference after parties then I ever did before, that way I meet a lot more of my kinda clients.

  22. Jackie Harder May 16, 2016 7:07 pm 

    Nice rant! I did a training program on how women are networking all wrong. The first thing you need to do is have a plan. How many people do you want to talk to? What kinds of industries do you want to connect with? Then follow up with them — the gold is in the follow up. Great post!

  23. Melanie Boylan May 17, 2016 10:00 am 

    Great plan Jackie, you are welcome to add the link to the plan here if you want – I’ll share elsewhere too. It’s something I am passionate about.

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