by Rick Kroetsch
Connecting with future customers is becoming more important in selling than ever before. It’s not enough to just do the same things that worked in the past. You need to truly understand who you are targeting in the future to know how to effectively connect with them and bring in new business.
Have you built your profile?
Think of your future customers like eHarmony looks at future relationships. You don’t leave it to chance—you look for people who meet a certain criteria. You need to look into the future and ask a broad series of questions to find compatibility. Here are some of the questions you should ask.
- Who lives in my trading area?
- Who are my current customers?
- Who are my future customers that I am trying to attract?
- What do these target markets want and need?
- Who else is trying to sell to them?
- What is important to them?
- How do they like to buy?
- Where do they get their information on products and health?
- Who are their influencers?
- What are their future health goals and aspirations?
- Where do they spend their time?
- Where else are they shopping, and what is offered there?
- How do they access information—what websites, blogs, social media channels, television shows, magazines, and community newspapers do they use?
- How have the neighbourhood demographics changed in the last five years?
- What is the breakdown of ages in my geographic market?
- What businesses are in my market that could be attracting people to my store, even though they don’t live in the area?
- Who drives by my location or visits the area?
Connecting with compatible markets
Once you’ve filled out the questionnaire and completed the analysis and review, it’s time to put a connection plan into action. You know who you are and what you want, you’ve identified who you are trying to attract, and now it’s time to match your business to your ideal customers.
Maybe you need a makeover
The current look that you are projecting might not be attractive to the future target market. It might be time to take an objective approach to updating your look and feel. Small cosmetic changes and attention to detail might be all that is needed. Others may need more work to update and change. Keep in mind that you want to attract new customers, and an outdated, stale look may be ineffective.
Include a product mix analysis in your review. Your answers to the questions above might identify that you need to add new products or services to your business to bring new markets through the doors (or onto your website).
Connect and communicate
Now that you know who you want and have updated your look, it’s time to get out there! Look at ways to connect with your market in a meaningful way. They don’t want to be sold to when you’re connecting with them. They want to listen to some interesting information, see that you are there to help, and know that you are concerned and have their best interests at heart. The more you have positive communication, the better you’ll connect with your market and the more comfortable they’ll feel with you.
Keep in touch
Once you’ve found your ideal future partner, don’t forget about them. Stay in touch, learn more about them, and keep them happy and profitable for you.
Rick Kroetsch is the vice-president and associate publisher of Alive Publishing Group.