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No More Nightmare Clients

October 28, 2011

It’s almost Hallowe’en and the scariest people are your worst clients, not the ghost of Amy Winehouse. Your anti-clients can save you money, if you know who they are.  The exercise I’m sharing with you saved one of my clients 100s of thousands of dollars.

Best Buy was the inspiration. They analyzed their ideal customers and, surprisingly, they weren’t techno geeks. One of their best consumer clusters was the soccer mom. Best Buy figured out her ‘persona’. What did she want from a store, staff and a shopping experience? In fact, they persona-lized their brand. They changed who they hired, how they trained and the store layout. Ca-ching. Profits soared.

I was so intrigued by Best Buy’s success, described in Waiting For Your Cat to Bark? Persuading Customers When They Ignore Marketing by Bryan and Jeffrey Eisenberg, that I used the approach with a global franchise. I analyzed their most successful franchisees and found five buyer personas. For each persona I fleshed out their character as if I was a Hollywood screen writer. This helps you see your client and what they need.

For example, one buyer persona was ‘Ally Buzz’  a 20-something, single, ambitious woman who was glued to her smart phone and wanted her own business.  Letting ‘Ally Buzz’ speak with other successful female franchise owners was gold because social proof works for Ally.  If she could see it, she could believe it. Also a family member was often a key support person. Inviting them to join in the information gathering conversation – in person, on calls or via Skype, increased Ally’s support and confidence.

You can’t use slick to close a sale, it barely worked before and it really doesn’t work now. You can figure out your best buyers’ path and persona-lize it. Analyzing your customer personas also helps you find your anti-customer. In fact, I only figured the nightmare buyer because I went looking for ideal ones. With this franchise, the nightmare was ‘The Good Neighbours’. You trusted them because you liked them but they knew nothing about business. They were slow to buy, hard to train and sued the most because they didn’t follow best practices.

Identifying and avoiding your anti-customers saves you money. Persona-lizing your ideal customers and smoothing their buying path makes you money. Trick or treat my friends.

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Good is no longer good enough. The goal is perfection and the path that takes us there leads to excellence.
Louise B. Karch