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Articles filed in: Brand Strategy

On Finding The Right Customers


Building a sustainable and fulfilling business isn’t just about finding enough customers—it’s about finding enough of the right customers.

Here are ten questions you can ask yourself to guide your thinking about what kind of customers will enable you to do your best work.

10 Questions For Finding The Right Customers

1. If you could only work with a handful of customers, which would you choose?

2. Why are these customers ideal for you?

3. What do your ideal customers want from a service provider?

4. What do you want from your customers?

5. What story will you tell customers about why you are the best fit for them?

6. What story will you tell customers about why they are the best fit for you?

7. How will you price your products and services to attract only those ideal clients?

8. How many of these ‘right customers’ do you need to build a viable business?

9. Where will you find your ideal customers?

10. How will your ideal customers find you?

Customer-company fit is underrated.

Image by Cristina

Only Human


Today you and I will pay $4 for a coffee when we could have paid a dollar.

We will take vitamins it’s claimed will improve our health, even though we have no definitive proof that they do.

We will eat too much and exercise too little.

We will distract ourselves with non-urgent tasks and fail to do the one thing we promised ourselves we’d get done.

All because we are only human—beings, who as neuroanatomist Jill Bolte Taylor says, are feeling creatures that think, not the thinking creatures who feel, we like to believe we are.

Despite knowing this, we will still try to convince our kids, our colleagues or our customers to change their minds with facts and rational arguments alone.

We need to constantly remind ourselves that we are neither all head or all heart and act accordingly.

Image by Shane Rounce

Worthy


If you’re reading this post, it’s because it got past one or more of your filters. Maybe you were anticipating receiving it because you subscribed to my blog. Perhaps it popped up in your search results. Either way, you’re here because you chose to be—not just because I reached out to you.

The people you’re trying to reach and resonate with are filtering too. From the contacts you try to add on LinkedIn, to the clients you’re hoping to attract. They are deciding who is worthy of their permission and their time.

So the question for you and me is not just how do we get past the filters, but how do we become worthy of the limited time and attention of the people we want to matter to?

Image by JM Thomson

The Value Of Discernment


Picture the scene. You’re at a networking event or a party. The room is buzzing—it’s packed full of people who you could strike up a conversation with.

Of course, you’ll never get around to speaking to everyone that evening. So you have to choose who to walk up to and introduce yourself. You don’t want to meet just anyone. You want to spend your time speaking to the people you can really connect with.

Now, picture that packed room as potential customers for your business. You can’t have a conversation with every one of those people. Who would you choose to speak to, and how will you know that person when you see them?

The better we are at discerning our right people the more shared value we can create.

Image by Railway Summit

Exactly Who Do You Serve?


The most successful restaurant on the shopping strip close to where I live is a vegan taco restaurant. Other restaurants come and go, but the taco place endures. Rain or shine, day in and day out they’re always busy.

As you can imagine, every time I walk past I wonder why. Why has the taco place succeeded where so many others with bigger marketing budgets, fancier fit-outs, and more extensive menus have failed?

I think it comes down to the fact that they know who they’re for.

They can describe their customer with such clarity that they don’t have to second guess their menu, decor and pricing.

It’s easier to make room at the table for the right people when you know who those people are.

Who, exactly are you in business to serve?

If you’re not sure, my Story Strategy Course will help you to answer that question.

Image by Vince Fleming

The Power Of Owning Your Work

The assistant at the family-run pasta shop is giving me instructions about how to cook the fresh ravioli she’s wrapping up for me to take home.

She never once refers to it as ‘the ravioli’ during the entire conversation. Whenever she speaks about the pasta her family makes fresh on the premisies every day, she describes it with pride as, ‘my ravioli’.

‘You can’t fail with my ravioli. My ravioli doesn’t need an elaborate sauce to make it taste great. That’s why people always come back for my ravioli.’

She was signing her work with every word. The way she speaks about her product makes it better and more valuable to the people lucky enough to eat it.

How are you owning the work you’re proud of?

Image by Jametlene Reskp

Disappointment And Delight


One day you will disappoint a customer.

You will let her down by failing to do the thing you promised.

She will leave that day feeling like she got less than she paid for.

But more than that, she will stop trusting that you will keep your word next time around.

Things don’t always go to plan. Mistakes happen.

That’s why it’s important to allow for them.

You are human. You won’t always get it right.

But you can find an opportunity to delight, especially when you disappoint.

A mistake doesn’t always have to end in disappointment.

Image by Brian J. Beggerly

It’s Not For You


‘It’s not for you,’ are four of the most powerful, yet hardest, words you can say, no matter what you have to share, sell or serve.

It takes courage not to be for everyone or to close the door on what at first glance looked like an opportunity.

But when you’re brave enough to put a stake in the ground, you will find your right people. Those people who you can help. The ones who will show up, ready to act—the people who would miss you.

The flip side, of course, is that you need to recognise your people. Those who you can confidently tell, ‘This is exactly what you’ve been looking for.

We do work that matters when we know who we want to matter to.

Image by Yelp

Effective Change

Even though nine of her children emigrated to England in the 1960s to find work, my grandmother never travelled outside Ireland.

She refused to taste cucumber, even though my English aunt insisted on making cucumber sandwiches whenever she came to visit.

Even after her doctor told her cigarettes were bad for her angina. Granny still smoked forty cigarettes a day, until the day she died of a massive heart attack.

My Granny didn’t see herself as the kind of person who would get on a boat or try food she’d never eaten. And her enjoyment of smoking outweighed the downsides in her eyes.

Changemaking isn’t as simple as taking someone on a journey to something different. Effective change engages someone in the act of being the kind of person they want to be.

When you know who your people want to become, you can tell a more relevant and resonant story.

Image by Tiago Murano

On Persuasion

Why are travellers paying to offset carbon emissions of their flights in record numbers?

Is it guilt that’s fueling this carbon offset boom?

It’s hard to persuade anyone to change their beliefs or behaviour.

But we all like to act in ways that feel consistent.

If we find ourselves liking a climate crisis Instagram post, or nodding when we hear Greta Thunberg speak, we’re more likely to pay to offset our emissions next time we fly.

Persuasion is less about making people have a complete change of heart and more about finding common ground.

The most persuasive people convince us incrementally—not by trying to change us, but by reminding us who we are.

Image by Li-An Lim

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