Identifying Customers

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Who do you want to sell to? Or, more importantly,
who is most likely to want to purchase your products
or use your services? Not identifying the customers is
probably one of the major errors that sales people
make. This oversight is even more common with
people who set up their own businesses. People can
get into business with an enthusiasm and belief in
their product or service and then in many cases waste
a great deal of money in advertising and targeting too
broad a customer base. This is the shotgun approach
as opposed to the rifle approach, which

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is much more
targeted.
You must draw up a very clear customer profile. This
of course varies according to your product or service.
If you are in B2B you must define exactly the
businesses that would most benefit from your product
or service. If you are in B2C, again clearly
Define the customer who would most benefit from your product or service. The profile could include age,
gender, socio- economic standing and similar
purchases that the customer is currently making.
The second stage, if you are in B2B, is to draw up a list
of potential customers within a five-mile radius.
These can be readily sourced from directories, from
local papers and by being observant when driving
around. I stress the importance of this, as so much
time can be wasted in travelling. It is incredibly
effective to build a customer base locally rather than
nationally. B2B selling normally requires the sales
person to go to customers’ premises, whereas B2C is
normally the reverse.
People often confuse selling and marketing. For many
people marketing sounds more acceptable than
selling. Let me attempt to distinguish these two very
important activities.
Marketing encompasses advertising, branding, PR,
sales brochures, labelling and packaging – all of which
are intended to create potential customer interest, but
then selling takes over. Selling involves person-toperson communication, either on the phone or face to
face. Now I do accept that some selling takes place on
the internet, which is of course based on words and pictures. With regard to the internet, which is getting
more and more sophisticated, not only does it require
that you have an excellent website that within three
seconds of customers clicking on it must retain their
interest, but it must also be very easy for customers to
find what they are looking for. The real sophistication
comes in the marketing of the website and search
engine optimization (SEO), so that the site comes in
high on the list selected by the search engines. The
whole process of winning business this way carries
high risk, because the seller is dependent on
customers finding the website. It also can be
dangerous because this is a passive activity where the
future is dependent on customers, and you could
easily go broke waiting for the phone to ring or the
order to arrive by e-mail.
Proactive marketing and selling are entirely in your
control. You will decide how many people you will
approach, and by increasing your activity here you
will undoubtedly increase your sales. Selling after all
is really a numbers game. The more people you talk
to, the more likely you are to win business.
Winning new clients is totally dependent on the
number of outgoing approaches that are made to
prospective customers. It is a very simple formula – the more contacts that your sales people make, the
more successful they will be.

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William Dawson

Writer and Reader user