How To Build A Customer Profile Using The 9P Model
Whenever we start working with a new client one of the most difficult tasks is to get inside the head of their customers. It is important to rapidly create a mental model of who we will be communicating with so that we can craft a poignant and memorable message that will make potential customers want to do business with our clients. We have developed a 9P customer model that enables us to quickly profile our client’s customers without having to be immersed in their business for a long time. It’s a helpful tool if you are looking to win new customers or are looking to target a new niche where you think there might be a lot of potential business to be won.
The starting point is to get an idea of the overall picture of who you are trying to target. Spend some time visualizing what they look like, sound like and their most common character traits. Are they generally shy, outgoing, self important, friendly? – all of these characteristics will be important to develop empathy and communicate a sincere message that your company can help them.
The next step is to understand the biggest problems that your target customers face on a daily basis. You need to find out what causes them the most pain so that you can offer them a potential way to solve their problem or at the very least give them a listening ear. It is really important to write down all their problems, preferably in order of difficulty, and not just the ones relating to your product or service. If what your business offers does not solve some of the top problems on the list then you might want to look at targeting a new market segment and adapting your offering.
The third part in the 9P model is to determine the buying process of your customers. Determine when they need your product or service and how they usually go about getting it. Do they order online, over email, over the phone, do they require a face to face meeting or proposal? It is important to make it as easy as slick as possible for new customers to be able to take action once they want to buy. It is important to note that clearly communicating the next steps in the process is crucial to build trust, maintain sales momentum and prevent buyer’s remorse.
This step is a very simple one – when do your customers buy? Understanding when your customers buy allows you to put your businesses in the right place at the right time by adjusting your business development efforts. If you can offer your services at the right time, at a fair price, to the right person, with an effective message you will win new customers. It’s also important to remember that by providing products or services when people need them most is a good way to create leverage.
The next step is to write down the products and services that your customers buy. It’s fundemental to know what products or services directly compete with your own and also those which indirectly relate or could act as a substitute. The money a customer has to spend is finite but by analysing what they spend their money on it is possible to maximise how much they spend with you.
Price is a difficult issue for every businesses. A good starting point is to get an idea of how much your customers are spending on the services or products that you provide. Secondly, how much are they spending on products or services that you don’t provide? Next you need to think about how you can most effectively demonstrate the value of your offering to those businesses in comparison to who they are currently using. If you can prove to them that you provide more value than the competition it is not only possible to win new customers but also justify higher prices and get existing customers to spend more money.
As everyone knows cashflow in business is essential. You need to make sure that every new customer you work with will be potential cash cow and not a dead duck. An excellent way of finding company information and credit reports is on DueDil – putting in this extra effort will pay dividends later on.
In every business there is always more than one person that needs to be convinced to buy. Even if you are dealing with a one man band they will most likely consult their husband or wife before making a decision. When dealing with bigger companies and accounts the number of people that get involved in decision making increases exponentially so it is crucial that you spend time understanding the structure of companies you are targeting and who is involved in decision making.
Before you start reaching out to potential customers you need to gain an idea of the overall potential of your targets. This comes down to two main factors – how much money they have to spend and how likely they are to spend it with you. The easiest way to change the amount of money your target customers have is by focussing on a different market segment in terms of company size, industry and the products and services that you offer them. Secondly, by using the previous eight steps, determine how you will measure the potential of each prospect you speak to. Over time this ‘intuition’, the ability to evaluate the potential of a prospect, will enable you to dramatically improve your effectiveness at winning new customers.
So there you have The 9P Customer Profile Model – the quickest and easiest way to understand and analyse your existing and potential new customers. If you have any comments please feel free to leave one below.
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