In every business, knowing your customer is essential towards making progress in sales. Several points to consider when dealing with your customer are the amount of time you spend with him or her, knowing his or her buying patterns and tendencies, and knowing where to market your product to most effectively reach that customer. Some clients are more pressed for time and require quick, efficient transactions to be made. Knowing the price range your client is in will help determine what products and/or services to offer. It is also important to understand from where your traffic comes from, whether it’s the Internet, a referral, or advertisements in a particular publication.
One effective way to track customer behavior and buying patterns is to keep purchasing logs, which allow you to analyze who is buying what type of product. These logs can be written or computerized, depending on the size of the clientele. Once you recognize a client’s buying pattern you will be in a position to recommend similar products, whether in the same price range or product category. It is helpful to know the general quantity of the product your customers buy, too. If you know their purchasing patterns, you can keep well stocked on popular items, or recommend similar products. Understanding buying habits is important because you can set aside products that your customers usually purchase. Sending out mass emails to buyers, on occasion, is a smart idea. It lets them know you have them in mind and serves as a reminder that your product may be needed soon. When it comes to satisfying customers, knowledge of their expectations is very helpful. For instance, know whether a client is quality driven or would be just as happy with a lower cost generic offering. Offering a client, driven by quality, a less costly, lower-end product could be insulting.
Understanding the value of your clients’ time is a vital part to a smooth running business with a steady client base. In my business of selling golf balls, many of my customers are doctors, lawyers and small business owners who understand that time is money. When notified that one of these clients is coming to purchase my products, I prepare for a fast transaction. I always attempt to concisely and succinctly tell them what they are purchasing. One of my repeat customers, Robert, who I see on a bi-weekly basis, works in a professional setting and has very little “dead time” in his schedule. When we do find a time that is convenient for both of us, I am always well prepared upon his arrival, as I know he is coming from the city during his lunch break and will not have much time. I understand customers like Robert appreciate the quick, reliable service I provide and that this type of service is why they keep coming back despite the existence of cheaper competition.
Knowing where and how to market is arguably the single most important aspect of business. You need to understand how far your customers are willing to travel to buy your product. If you own a business that doesn’t ship its product and has a target audience of people within a forty-five minute to one-hour radius, it doesn’t make sense to market any further than that radius. If you are involved in a business that ships, it would make sense to start out advertising in the major cities of the country, and then, through trial-and-error, find out which places are generating the most traffic. After finding out which areas generate the most traffic, you should focus on advertising in just those areas where the return on your marketing dollar is greatest and grow your clientele in an established area. Also, it is important to know what brought new clients to you. Was it a certain advertisement that grabbed people’s attention or a special discount? Answers to these questions can really help you grow a business. There are many services which monitor website traffic. Such services can tell you where your Internet website visitors are geographically located and from what website source they learned about your business. If you are struggling to find an effective place to market your product, simply ask your current customers how they found out about you. If you can notice a pattern and understand where they are coming from, it could potentially help you to more effectively market and move on to the next level.
Knowledge about your customers is critical to the success of your business. If you know who they are, their likes and dislikes, buying patterns, location, etc. it can help immeasurably in making your business both more efficient and profitable.
Evan Ruccolo is an 11th grade student at St. John’s Preparatory School in Danvers, Massachusetts. He is the proprietor of the Boston Area Golf Group.