It’s time to put the bread on your table

Profiling for Maximum sales

Three customers step into your store. All of them seem ideal. RH was so interested you thought he was a sure thing. After wasting a lot of time and energy serving him, you realized you are never going to get his business, but you sure have made it easier for him to shop at amazon. Oh, well. Now the Red Herring is a lot easier to spot.

One guy’s already become your favorite face at the shop. He loves to look around. He says Hi but doesn’t demand a lot of time. Once in a while he makes a small purchase. He seems to have friends everywhere, and they never fail to mention his referral with a smile. They come in pre-sold on the word of BFF, your biggest Propheteer.

The last customer walks in, head down. He looks around quickly, sees the sign for the department he’s interested in, and beelines over there with seemingly no interest in the store at all. If the staff tries to help, they get a gruff “no thanks.”

Meet your Ideal Customer.

This week, Experience Design 201: a special series on profiling your customers to increase your sales.

Part Three: Mr. E, the Ideal Customer

What’s eating Mr. E? He walks into your store as if he owns the place. Strides to the aisle he wants without a word or a smile. Not that he doesn’t have a smile, just that he doesn’t have time for that right now.

He’s easy to recognize. You’ll even hear other customers mumble, “looks like he’s on a mission.”

Leading characteristics:

Laser focus

Has no time

May have a written list; definitely has a mental agenda

Little interest in price

Ready to buy but impatient

Seen more often in business-to-business transactions (B2B)

Unlike everyone else in the store or on your website today, Mr. E is shopping for a current need.

What brought him here today?

Simple. (You sped right past it a second ago.) He’s here because he’s ready to buy. Mr. E is your Easy sale.

What can we do for this Ideal Customer?

Catching his eye:

Your business’ name is the most important ad you’ll ever write. If you’re at the beginning of your plans as you read this, make your name rock. It’s an unbelievable leg-up on your competition, especially for Mr. E(asy sale).

Ultra clarity. Mr. E is impatient. It’s an easy sale, but not a sure sale. Mr. E wants to make his purchase, not guess whether soap is in “body” or “cleansing.” No jargon, no overlapping or confusing navigation (in store or online!), and no cutesies. Cutsey is for wanderers, and wanderers are someday-purchasers at best.

Task-oriented efficiency. This applies to everything from getting around your place to how your staff is trained. Like BFF, functional groupings can work wonders. What do people come to your store to solve? Get the nails with the hammers, get the soap with the scrubby-thingies (??), sell the business cards when they’re ordering stationery. And your staff—make sure they are looking at the business from that customer’s task-oriented point of view. Answers. To problems. That your products solve. Which they can explain quickly to the prospect.

Great search on-site. This customer will not see your navigation. That’s right, he won’t even see it. Time and again, I see Mr. E go straight to the search box and type in what he needs. If the term doesn’t come up with any results, he may rephrase. Once. Then he’s gone—impatient, remember? So make sure you are thinking like the Ideal Customer, writing from his point of view, and packing your site with words that speak to his needs.

Home page is critical. He has to be sure you have what he needs right away. If you do not explain what you sell or at least describe your Ideal Customer perfectly on your home page, go right now and fix that. Even one click is too many for your Ideal Customer. (“But c’mon… if he clicks, where will the one click be?” you ask. To the page that appears to be the next in the sales process. MAKE IT CLEAR. If he gets it wrong, you lose.)

Loyal?

Yes, loyal. With a twist. Mr. E is rarely the guy who will spread word-of-mouth for you. You’re this guy’s “secret source” and he’s happy to keep it that way, thanks.

Designing Maximum Customer Experience for Mr. E involves:

Pinpointing his needs and speaking to them

and

Valuing his time above everything else

Think like a fast-food worker. How fast can you serve Mr. E the certain knowledge that he should buy from you?

Now do what they do. Aim to cut that time in half.

Pros:

He wants to give you his money. ‘Nuff said.

Cons:

1. Because he’s usually not a chatter, he can be misunderstood. You’ll have no trouble spotting him, but you may not believe he’s the Ideal Customer at first. You’ve been letting him get away every single day since you opened your doors.

2. Being crystal clear from the customer’s point of view is A LOT harder than it looks.

Best bet:

This guy is one you may not enjoy, but the one you need most. Mr. E will buy, from you, or he will turn on his heels. It’s what he’s here for. Go overboard in your efforts to make the transaction easy for Mr. E.

Make his goals yours and you have a customer for life.

Great! Now I want to make more sales, Kelly!

This part knocks us all for a loop now and then: We want to induce sales; we want to “sell” customers; we want to get our prospects to buy.

It can’t be done.

You can encourage.

You can entice.

You can remind, rephrase, maybe even repackage.

You can prod at a need or a pain that is there, but doesn’t seem urgent enough.

You can’t “make” a sale.

When the customer has a need— when the customer knows that you have the Ideal Solution to that need— not only can’t you “sell” him or her, you won’t need to. Like Mr. E, the customer who has a need that he knows only you have the Ideal Solution to, has already sold himself.

So you can’t make more sales, but you can help more buyers feel like Mr. E. I promised you that Experience Design 201 would teach you to turbo-charge your sales. Let’s do it!

How to turbo-charge your sales with buyer profiles

Drop the Red Herrings. Unless you want practice, or enjoy giant time-sucks.

Enjoy and nurture your relationships with Propheteers, even though their own purchases may be small.

Be bold, be direct, and focus the entire Customer Experience on Mr. E’s needs. Demonstrate the you are the Ideal Solution from every possible angle. Make it impossible to make a wrong turn, from your front door (or homepage), to the sales counter. Other buyers, with other profiles, will be just as pleased with this Pinpoint precision, even though they’ll use your store or your site in different ways.

In ads and other marketing materials: Forget “branding.” Never, ever, write an ad of any kind where you don’t ask the prospect to say Yes to something. Buy this item. Sign up for email. Call today. You aren’t doing this to make people warm and fuzzy, you’re doing this to grow your business. Insist that every dollar you spend does just that.

In store: Signage. More than you want is less than they need. Color to orient the customer, if the store’s large. Lighting, especially lighting focused right on your key products. You do NOT have to light your store like a hospital to make sales.

On the web: Bigger (type), bolder (navigation to key sales pages—let other nav take a quiet back seat), clearer (clever, jargony language is instant sales death), less (fewer choices = more yesses), more (links within text to guide the sales process), none (ads to other sites—when your customer is gone he is GONE).

At every decision-point, shout clearly: “This is the next step!”

Never be afraid that you’re overdoing it. I guarantee you’re not.

Congratulations, dear reader. We’ve gone through some very advanced lessons this week, and you’ve made it to the finals of Experience Design 201.

I bet you know how we check your exam around here—in dollars!

Go forth. Maximize your sales.

 

Graduate and be well,

Kelly Erickson

 

P.S. If you missed the links above: please click to read Part 1 and Part 2 in this series.