Finding the Right Clients

One of the most important questions any business or brand must ask itself is, “Who are my customers?” Who are those people who will value what I have to offer and be willing to pay the price I determined my product or service to be worth? Without defining who these customers are, we leave our customer acquisition up to chance instead of making it systematic.

Photo by Will Mu from Pexels

When Gary Vaynerchuk finished his lecture on social media marketing in front of 400 people, rather than thanking the audience and heading home, he announced an immediate auction for a private business consultation with him, with all proceeds going to charity.

Vaynerchuk explained to his audience that the last time he gave a private consultation, he introduced his customer to his own personal network of contacts, and the customer ended up making 50,000 dollars in under 30 days. “It’s not just a consultation,” Vaynerchuk explained, “it’s potential access to my network, and I know some of the strongest people in the world.”

He opened the bidding at 500 pounds, and more bids followed quickly. First 600, then 1,000, and then 3,000. By this stage, only two people out of the 400 in the hall were still actively bidding, raising the bid by increments of 100 pounds at a time. Everyone else just sat there looking. When the price his 3,900 pounds, the audience became restless. Vaynerchuk then asked both bidders if they’d agree to pay 4,000 pounds each in return for both of them receiving a consultation. They both agreed, and Vaynerchuk was able to raise 8,000 pounds for charity in just two hours (from the article “The Art of Reduction” in the Epoch Times).

Vaynerchuk utilized the basic principle of supply and demand to determine the price of his service and the expected profit. But he also did something else which is not so apparent — he determined the market forces himself. Even though there were plenty of people in attendance for his auction, he only needed two of them to compete against themselves for the price to go up. If he were trying to sell everyone an hour of his time, he would have probably had to take his price down to 200 pounds per hour. After giving out 400 private consultations, he would probably also need a long vacation and have no energy to write more books or give more talks. Yet he was able to create his own market forces because he knew who his clients are and what value he can offer them.

One of the most important questions any business or brand must ask itself is, “Who are my customers?” Who are those people who will value what I have to offer be willing to pay the price I determined my product or service to be worth? Without defining who these customers are, we leave our customer acquisition up to chance instead of making it systematic.

Finding our customers requires fieldwork and deep digging. If the product I’m marketing is a coding Bootcamp for teenage girls, do I market it to the teenagers themselves or to their parents, and which areas of interest are the most suitable? Who makes the decisions and who has the final say in the matter? As always, all roads lead to audience research.

New businesses at the start of their journey require time to settle in and create their own distinct character. At this stage, it usually isn’t yet clear who our customers are. And even if it is clear to us, our slow business growth can make us doubt what we think we know and instead attempt to pivot repeatedly, changing our audience and our value proposition or taking on more projects at lower prices just so we can have a more varied portfolio.

At some stage, though, we stabilize. We figure out who our customers are and the value we offer them. We start to become picky about customers and projects according to their business focus and business model. This is when we get to know our customers and their needs on a deeper level so that we are able to progress to the next stage of growth.

The value we offer our customers is in the small details. As marketers and business owners, our ultimate role is to sell, and our ultimate interest is the bottom line — that much is obvious. Yet we have to keep in mind that maintaining and developing contact with our customers so that we can convert them from passive followers to paying customers is a long process that requires patience and tolerance. It takes time, often quite a bit of time. The good news is that time is something you have plenty of.

Around 90% of people don’t make a purchase based on the first offer they receive, while 71% will make the purchase based on the second offer. People need time to convince themselves that the offer they’ve received is good value, so it makes sense to allow them to think of this as an integral part of your marketing funnel rather than pushing them to make a decision on the spot. You can use this time to learn more about your potential customers and their needs and use that knowledge to better tailor their exposure to your content, your values and the people behind your brand. Thus, you connect them to what makes your product or service the best choice for them and help them make a position decision.

Knowing your target audience will help you refine your message and make a difference. The beauty of the digital world is that it allows us to create a dialogue with our customers and get to know them more intimately: their consumption habits, their natural discourse as well as the criticism and the difficult questions that they bring up. Instead of throwing our marketing manifesto at our potential customers in an ineffective manner, we learn about them, we learn them, and we research. Yes, it’s quite an investment, but it’s worth it.

Knowing your customer gives you the ability to treat them as smart and skeptical people who ask questions and look before they buy. It allows you to offer them not just interesting content and added value, but also transparency, decency, and complete information — including the fine print. It allows you to communicate the impact that your service or product will have on them in a clear and distinct manner, and to demonstrate in a clear and graphic way how you can help them become more efficient, spend more time with their family, open up new markets, level up at work, or any other need that your product or service fulfills.

It will also help you become just close enough to your customer to be able to reinforce their loyalty and their readiness to buy, but not too close for comfort. After all, you don’t want them to distance themselves or worry that just maybe you know a bit too much about them. To top it all off, knowing your customer will allow you to create distinct and segmented customer profiles — each with their own needs and world view — which you can then use to market your product or service for the price you’ve set (along with any appropriate adjustments you make for each customer segment).

By this stage, some things need to happen:

  • You must already know your value proposition to customers and repeat the same messages over and over again, from different angles. Keep repeating in a clear and trustworthy manner what it is you do, and make sure to keep that message consistent among all the different audiences.
  • Your message must be supported by a varied content array, which will explain to your customer what you do and how you’re going to help them. This can take a variety of forms — articles, blogs, talks, books, podcasts, etc.
  • Establish your system with a variety of products and services: once your customer reaches the point where they know and trust you, they’ll want to buy from you. Some will want to spend one hundred dollars, while others will want to spend one thousand dollars or more. You need a variety of products to suit all types of needs and demands.
  • Create cooperation: who else reaches out to your customers? Find out if there’s room for cooperation and increased exposure, maybe through a joint service or a new product, so together you can create an even greater value for your customers.
  • People will want to know what you’ve done in the past. They will Google you and put the pieces together. Continuity is important, and it’s crucial that whatever details you have spread across the web end up supporting your messaging and your work.

Getting to know your customer in a serious way will enable you to offer them true value — and they’ll end up becoming your ambassadors. It’s also your way to become a strong and distinct brand, a brand with values and depth, a brand that walks the talk and creates impact within a specific and unique market, where you are soon to become a key player.

Terry Farber Eliasaf is the CEO of a marketing agency specializing in High-Tech and B2B corporate storytelling and growth strategies, a consultant & lecturer.