Just like the first day of class, when a teacher is getting acquainted with his or her students for the next nine months, it is critical for a business owner to get to know his or her customers. And we mean really know them – not just their names and contact information. The more you know about your customer, the more you will be able to help meet their needs, provide outstanding service and build lasting relationships with loyal customers.
Getting to know your customer is all about the customer service and relationship building process. As you get to know your customers, track the information you learned about them, so you don’t forget it. It is perfectly acceptable to write the information on an index card or create a profile of them in your database, so you have the information readily available when you need it.
Take a look at this list of other important tidbits you should know about your customers to help you grow your business.
Who is your customer?
As trivial as this might sound, it is important to find out your customers’ gender, age and occupation. This will help you relate and communicate with them. Many names are used for both genders, and you should know if Casey, Stacey, Lee or Britt is a man or woman before you make a cold call and ask for the wrong person. Knowing their age and even their birthdate can be important.
What do they do?
It is important to know their occupation if they work off the farm or ranch, to understand their perspective. It is also important to know their livestock operation goals. Do they have a 9 to 5 job that might require you to stay open a little later, so they can pick up product? Or is their operation large enough that it merits you delivering product on a regular basis? Knowing what they do and what their operational goals are will help you better customize your services to your customers.
When and why do they buy from you?
Does a particular customer only buy product from you during the breeding season or for show livestock? Or do you have a customer who buys multiple products from you year-round? Knowing their habits and when they buy will help you know when to contact them. Contacting them at the time they want to buy a product or service you offer will greatly increase the likelihood of a sale. And matching a product to something that will directly benefit them will help your sales increase as well.
How does your customer like to buy?
Is your customer someone who appreciates face-to-face interaction and would enjoy a ranch visit from you when you know they are likely low on product? Or is the customer a millennial who would prefer to hear from you via text or email? Know what kind of communication and sales tactic the customer likes to use best and use it. If it is a text or call, post in your calendar when you need to make that call or send that text to remind them about their next order. If they use a particular product and you are getting ready to run a Facebook promotion on it, but you know they don’t have internet, call them and let them know. You’ll probably make a sale.
What does your customer expect?
If your customer expects timely delivery, don’t disappoint them. One mishap can lose a loyal customer. If your customer expects you to keep track of their rations for them, comply. Your customers’ expectations of you will range from minimal to over-the-top. But remember, service is what makes the sales and the repeat customers come back because of great service.
What does your customer think of you?
If your customer likes you, your product and your services, they are likely to be repeat customers that continue to buy more from you over time. But, if they become disgruntled, they can turn away and tell all their neighbors to stop their business with you too. Ask your customers for input. This can be a confidential survey or a basic conversation. You can’t make enhancements if you don’t know what to improve.
What does your customer think of your competitors?
The best way to stay ahead of your competition is to not follow in their footsteps. Once you have a good rapport with your customers, ask what they prefer about you to another company who offers the same goods and services. It is always better to learn from others’ mistakes than our own.
Now that you have gotten to know your customer, the sales should become more like a conversation and less of a pitch. Building relationships and knowing your customer is key to your business’ growth and success.