Ask yourself three questions:
1. What are the attributes of my typical customer?
2. What are the attributes of my ideal customer?
3. What are the strengths and limitations my business has for attracting customers?
It is important to consider all the factors that come into play in the interactions between your customers and your team. How much do the customers spend? What are their interests? Where do they live and work? What are they most willing to spend money on? Are they pleasant to deal with? Do the customers require minimal, or a lot of, staff time in explanations, pacifying, upselling, etc.?
How closely do the attributes of your ideal customer match up with your typical customer? If they match closely and your business is profitable and growing at the rate you would like, you are doing something right. Keep doing it.
If you experience a decline in business profits at any points in the future, identify causes and address them, and consider redirecting some of your marketing. Please resist the temptation to do nothing other than looking for someone or something to blame. If costs have gone up, or an employee is causing problems, or the economy is slow, you’ll have to come up with constructive ways to overcome these obstacles as much as possible.
When the typical and ideal customer attributes don’t match, you’ll need to expand your marketing efforts to target new customers based on the ideal customer attributes you identified, within the framework of the strengths and limitations of your business. (Note than some ideas for inexpensive ways to reach out to customers can be found in previous “AutoBiz Automotive Software Blog” articles entitled 3 Tips to Improve Your Marketing for Free, 8/17/12, and Harness the Power of Marketing, 4/27/11.)
The first response to the second question, about defining your ideal customer, is usually the amount of money we’d like them to spend. Most of us are in business to make money, but rather than focusing on who has the most to spend, it may be more important to determine who spends more. Additionally, even if a customer has potential to spend more, are they costing you too much, in terms of time and stress?
All the attributes & factors you’ve identified will help you find ways and venues for targeted marketing. Even when your business is doing well, it is always a good idea to step out of your comfort zone to some degree and reach out to new potential customer groups.
Your answers to the three questions above might surprise you, or they may confirm you are on the right track. Either way, setting time aside for periodically reviewing your approach to attracting customers keeps you in control. Also keep track of business trends, such as “same time last year,” etc. A business management system that quickly and easily gives you the metrics you need may keep you from reacting in panic mode to downturns in your business, and show you areas where you are succeeding in reaching your targets.