CrystalBall_crop“We know who our customer is,” expressed a client the other day. And they proceeded to tell me the demographics – small business owner, geographical area, size of business, etc.. These are all good things to know, but they’re not the only things that are important. I asked this client if they know what the “psychographics” are for this potential customer. There was silence on the other end of the phone.

What are “psychographics” anyway, and why are they important?

Do you ever think about what’s going on with a target customer on the “inside” in relation to your product or service? You probably know what they need from you, but do you really know “why” they need you emotionally? Can you get into their head and really look at things from their perspective? How are they feeling now and how do you want them to feel? Can you be empathetic to them?
“Knowing the psychographics of your customer base is pivotal in understanding who you’re selling to and what motivates them,” from a Hubspot Blog.* According to Wikipedia, the word “psychographics” is defined as “the study of personality, values, opinions, attitudes, interests, and lifestyles.” It’s the emotional state of mind your customer is in prior to experiencing your product or service, including their perceptions. It does include the problem they have, the rational problem, but it goes deeper into what will motivate them enough to take action. Or, how will they feel if this problem is not solved? How does it affect their life? How deep does the pain go and what is the ripple effect the solution can create? Put yourself in their shoes.

You may wonder, “why does it matter?”

If you truly understand your customer and create a profile that goes beyond demographics, it can help you to use authentic marketing language that will connect with them, motivate them to take action and attract more of them to your business. (there IS science behind this and it’s all about how the brain works. It’s what I teach to my clients.) It also helps you to better identify where you should be marketing, whether it’s on a particular social media platform or local locations like a gym or supermarket, if that’s where they hang out.

If potential customers sense that you understand them, aside from attracting more of them, they will form a stronger bond with you, become loyal, repeat customers and statistically spend on average 20% more with you!

How do you get into their head and understand them better?

There are several ways to do this. And no, I’m not talking a crystal ball or hiring a psychic. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  1. A more obvious and practical way would be to do a survey via e-mail with some of your existing ideal clients or customers, especially the ones that are loyal and keep coming back. Try to find out why they stay with you or keep buying from you. I was recently in a meeting where an organization was trying to understand why members left or had not renewed their membership. I suggested, why not get some input from those that have stayed a long time and are loyal and active in the organization? This information would be even more valuable, because potentially it could be used to draw people back or to recruit new members! There are a number of things to take into consideration when doing a survey. (Good info for another blog article!!) Make sure you’re not coming across as self-serving but you are focused on the person you are reaching out to and how it will benefit them to take the time to do the survey. This should be reflected in the subject line of the e-mail, through the opening text and the questions. And you might want to consider reaching back out to them with the results, what you are going to do with these results, and how they will benefit them.
  2. In a more personal approach, identify who are your current best customers. If you have strong one-on-one relationships with them, and most likely you do, just ASK them!! Do this in person or on the phone – it’s well worth the investment of time when you realize this information is invaluable! As small business owners, I think we forget to just “ask”! Again, if you position it from the perspective of how much you value their perspective and how this information will benefit them, they will be happy to give you their time.
  3. Another technique is to take a moment and think about why YOU are attracted to a particular product, or business or even the people in your life. What companies or products are you loyal to? Something makes you “click” with them. Why? You probably have something in common with them beyond the obvious on the surface. On a deeper level, you share core values or have similar beliefs, philosophies or passions. When you look at what attracts you, you may find the answer to the type of person that would be attracted TO YOU, your business or organization and what it stands for.
  4. Remember when you played “pretend” when you were a kid? Have fun with it and “role play” with others in your business or organization. Or if you’re a solopreneur, invite a friend to do this with you. Have someone play the role of a customer and just ask them questions. Or have a brainstorming session with a group of employees, especially if you have a small business. This is a win-win because it can help to engage your staff and to help them have a better understanding of your existing customers. After all, if they are the face of your business to the customer, it’s important that they align with your brand and your business.

I have found that in my own business when I focus on the potential client in a conversation and listen to what’s going on with them, I continually gain insights into their world, their state of mind and their struggles. As they’re talking I make a mental list (or sometimes I’m writing it all down!) of the ways I can help them! And if I’ve had similar struggles, or some of my other clients have, I can share a success story. It helps to make a connection, not only to their pain, but to the solution they, too, can experience. It’s then that they have a desire to work with me. It’s that authentic connection that brings the business TO me rather than me having to “sell”. That’s when the magic happens!

*What are Psychographics? (FAQ’s)