The Ten Criteria Critical To Client Hacking:
- A customers self identity
What? You say, well yes, a customers self-identity has a huge impact on the types of products / services a customer buys. This is particularly evident with well known luxury brands, where consumers will do just about anything to buy for example a Victoria Beckham pair of jeans, a BMW and such like.
At the end of the day they are not just buying a pair of jeans/ car they are buying into the idea that each item can help elevate their social status in a social setting. This can be important in terms of the person’s opinion of themselves and what they believe to be the opinions of others.
These types of customers, typically will buy high-end produce frequently, in an effort to maintain their own self-identity.
The question here is whether you know what your product / service represents in the mind of your customers? Aside from logical reasons, what is their impetus to buy? What goals will they achieve when buying from you?
Each country, even each little geographical area, such as a village has a multiplicity of accepted norms and values and your product / service is deemed to be good / bad on these accepted norms. This obviously has huge implications if your brand is considered to be unacceptable to a certain culture.
For example a particular clothing brand might be considered to be very cool in a country environment and on the flip side is considered to be a very uncool brand in an urban environment. The key here is do you know what values your product / service represents in the minds of your customers?
- Social class
Even I hate to admit this one but the truth is that there very much are different levels of social class, the traditional being working class, middle class and upper class. More recently the BBC in the UK in conjunction with university research units conducted a massive survey of over 160,000 people and have concluded that there are in fact SEVEN social class distinctions.
How does this impact your business? Well, think about it on a logical level, the lower classes (if you want to call them that!) typically have less disposable income, therefore they are more likely to spend their money on must have items such as food, rent etc, this means that if you have a high end or even a relatively high end product / service, they simply may not be able to afford to purchase.
Interestingly this also has an impact on what hobbies they tend to have, whether they go to university, how well their children do in life and so on. Clearly as a business owner SELLING something you need to understand where your customers are at, in terms of buying behaviour and spending power.
You should also be able to identify the process of those who come from working class environments but who work hard and become upwardly mobile over a period of time. In this instance a customer may be drooling over your produce through your advertising for quite a while before they buy. This reinforces the notion of consistent marketing / advertising to keep your brand top of mind when the time comes for the customer to actually step up and buy.
- Motivation to buy
In other words how ready are your customers to buy? If you sell jeans, are these jeans that will allow the guy / girl to pull at the weekend? (excuse the example!) therefore they have to buy them quickly, in their minds, if they want to achieve that particular result!
Or do you have software that is the solution to a range of business owner’s problems and they need it now. Except they just don’t know that!
What you need to understand as an entrepreneur is have you identified correctly WHO needs your software or are your marketing communications explaining explicitly enough that this software is a must have NOW for the benefit of their business. If your prospective customers do not understand the benefits of what you sell, they simply will not buy now or will postpone buying until a much later date. You must speak to the heart of your customers. It simply increases sales.
Sales will reflect how efficient your marketing process actually is.
Is your product / service an impulse buy or will they need to know and understand a lot more detail before purchasing? If so how will you know what categories your customers fall into and how will you adjust your marketing strategy accordingly?
Knowledge of your customers is really the key to success.
- Beliefs and attitudes
As a business owner do you understand what are your customers general beliefs and attitudes in life? More importantly do you know your customers general beliefs and attitudes towards your industry? And towards your own brand?
It is worth noting that there will be more than one category of customer, the key is to understand what a particular type of customer believes to be true. As beliefs and attitudes can have a positive or a negative impact on a potential customers buying behaviour of YOUR product / service.
With this in mind, wouldn’t you like to know what your customer’s beliefs and values actually are?
Do you know what age profiles represent your customers?
For example you could have two similar personality and background type of customer, however if one is twenty years old and one is forty years old, their age will typically demonstrate different needs, wants and expectations which are relevant to the stage they are at in their own lives.
Clearly you would highlight different aspects of your product / service in your marketing to each customer type and this can be determined by the stage they are at in their own lives
The question here is what does your brand stand for? And knowing this does it satisfy the social and psychological needs of your customers?
Why, do you need to know this, well, essentially if you can satisfy your customers social and psychological needs, you will speak to the heart of your customers and your sales will rapidly increase.
- How receptive are your customers to your marketing messages?
Do you know if your customers COMPLETELY understand your offering?
Or are they a little confused? In other words are you speaking to your customer’s heart or are you caught up in industry jargon that only some of your customers understand? If this is the case you are literally leaving money on the table. The solution is to understand your customers understanding of what you do and use THEIR LANGUAGE to market to them, thus they will feel like you know and understand them, plus you are deemed to care. The result, is more sales.
- What types of relationships do you have with your customers?
As surprising as it may seem, you can actually identify the types of relationships you have with your customers, there are fifteen in total!
Types of relationships you can have with your customers are ‘flings’ I kid you not, seriously think about it, you have loyal repeat customers, who you are in a long term relationship with and you have those who flirt with your business and buy once in the blue moon.
They key question here is how do you get the ‘flirters’ to buy more of what they need from you? And how do you make sure you keep your long-term customers happy, so they continue to buy from you?
This is where the concept of sales funnels, upsells and downsells can work exceptionally well, however you must understand the needs of your customers first in order to maximize sales conversions.
It’s a simple concept and works every time.
- Does your brand speak to the heart of your customers?
If you have gone through the above questions and accurately researched and answered the questions, it should make this question easier to answer.
One thing I would like to point out is that you really HAVE to ask your customers opinion, otherwise you are running your business on your own intuition and opinions, which with the best will in the world may not be in line with your customers needs and desires!
All in all Client Hacking can be applied to ANY business, it is relevant whether you are at start up stage, two years, five years or twenty years in business. People change, business offerings change, society changes and so on and as business owners we all need to be vigilant in making sure we speak to the heart of our customers, deliver great products / services.
There is of course the initial work in Client Hacking but once done, it is very easy to adjust and review as you move forward towards greater success.
The sad fact is that most businesses overlook or do not keep their customers as a central focus of all their efforts, that or they initially are terrific and then slowly slide off the great customer benefits scale by getting wrapped up in day to day operations. This approach may not affect your business initially, however long term it has far reaching consequences.
If you would like any more information, you can contact me at [email protected]
As a marketing consultant I walk my clients through this process, on a daily business, so feel free to contact me if this process would be of value to your business