Customers Are Real People, Not Chatbots


Who Do You Call On? What Do They Really Need?

This Is Where Your Value Proposition Begins…And Trump Provides Some Great Examples.

When I ask a sales rep what they think is top of mind for their target prospect, most answer in terms of their product set or technology. 

No thought is given to them as a person. 

2016-12-23_07-12-02Do IT people really think about storage and servers all day? Is the CIO pondering security most of his day? What about the small business owner? When he wakes up this morning will uptime or managed services be his first thought as he pours his cup of coffee?  Probably not!

There’s a simple process you can go through to put some definition to your target customer.

And it starts by thinking of them as a real person rather than a chatbot or some predictable automata. Set aside your products and services for just a minute and consider who you call on.

When I think of target customers I am thinking about 4 key areas. These four areas profile the person I want to call on (Yes I know, profiling is a bad word in our day and age but if you want to grow sales…). They include:

  • Demographics – the basics. Include things like gender, marital status, income bracket, education level, etc. Set aside any politically correct thinking here. You’re looking for averages across your target market. Every detail matters.
  • Business Goals – what the company or an owner is working toward to be successful in their current company role. Note that the IT Director is going to look much different than the CIO or Small Business Owner.
  • Personal Aspirations – This gets personal. For instance, most CIOs are near 50 and probably thinking about retirement, and having enough in the bank to retire well. They may also have kids coming out of college with an aspiration to help them launch a successful career.
  • Fears – Everyone has fears. But there are common fears. For instance, Napoleon Hill, Author of Think and Grow Rich cites the top most common fears among men. Poverty is number one. What are your prospects most common fears. Perhaps Hill’s list will work for your market as well.

You really want to know three things. Their profile, where they hang out. And what they care about…

Today we only have time to discuss profile.  Trump, and several well known celebrities provide solid examples. Ready?

It’s tempting to be general. To try being all things to all people. This is a mistake.

Rush Limbaugh, Howard Stern, Dan Kennedy (a well known copywriter), their success proves show that it pays to take hardline positions when connecting with your target market.

Trump won the presidential election by doing this very thing. He was abrupt, pointed, insensitive, but focused. Perhaps you hated watching him in the debates, or thought you would do a better job. None of that matters. He won.

He knew he needed to target swing states with blue collar workers in the rust belt for instance. He was after the electoral votes, not the popular votes. He knew how to win – or at least his marketing team did.

His digital marketing team didn’t focus on conservative white collar business men. He had that locked up long before winning a spot on the republican ticket. His message was brilliant. Make America Great Again. It’s an active message targeting those who are sick of the status quo. He focused on those who had lost faith in people who tout government experience and political savvy. And like it or not, he won.

Take one of your target prospect titles.  Small business owner for instance. Draw an X on your paper and use the four categories I’ve listed on the 4 quadrants.

Now start listing bullets to define the four areas. Be as specific as you can. If you don’t know the average income for small business owners, find out. If you know small business owners are in the 100K range, tend to have small savings, but average 50 years old. You know they have about 15 years to save enough to retire. Maybe 20. If they run into major health issues like a heart condition, it will put a major kink in their savings program.  You should know this. Chances are they spend more time thinking about their personal finances than they do Microsoft’s next upgrade.

As you meet with prospects in your target market start asking more questions that fill in these quadrants. When you start you might be thinking you call on all small business owners. However, as you continue your research and look at past successes, you just might find that certain personalities, backgrounds, and verticals work much better than others. Each person relates to different people groups differently. And while you might excel with one profile, you might not with others.

It might also prove true that your favorite profile is not politically correct to announce – which was probably true for Trump. But that really doesn’t matter. Keep it to yourself and start winning.

© 2016, David Stelzl



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