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Picture the Perfect Customer

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“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” ~~Albert Einstein

Networking involves mining relationships, sharing resources, and working together. The more clearly you define your target the easier it is for the other person to know quickly if they can help or not. Additionally, you can align everything you do to support that target market with your proficiency—becoming the subject matter expert for this specific group.

Defining your perfect customer clearly is one of the key elements of success. This is entirely counter-intuitive, though, and most people miss the mark because of that. For example, your product or service can often help a wide variety of people. Let’s call this vast population “anybody.” Therefore, we mistakenly think that it will be easier for our business partners to just bring us “anybody.” There are two major problems with this.

 The first is that we are often brought the wrong prospects. Either they don’t qualify, are not the decision-maker, we don’t understand their needs well enough to align our benefits with their needs, etc. When “anybody” shows up on our doorstep, it is no better than starting from scratch and that is frustrating for us, for our partner, and for the prospect. Everyone has heightened expectations and the results are disappointing.

 The second problem is that we are often brought no prospects when asking for “anybody.” This happens for two primary reasons. For those people motivated to bring us what we ask for (see the prior paragraph) they give up as we seem ungrateful or incompetent. For those that are less motivated (trust me, this is a bigger population) our request is out-of-sight-and-out-of-mind. If any opportunity ever luckily clicks we wind up back in the same briar patch of the previous paragraph.


There is also a hidden problem because when we find “anybody” in our own process, we are equipped with the knowledge to qualify them and build the relationship at the same time. This fools us to believe that all our networking partners can and will do the same.

 This area is one of the biggest causes of networking failure. Mastery here will make a huge difference in your success.

It is far more effective to clearly define the target as precisely as possible. Let me give an example that may illustrate this better.


Imagine you have a credit card processing company and your service handles many small-to-medium sized transactions quickly and accurately. You offer and support loyalty memberships, can calculate discounts on-the-fly, and provide durable, reliable equipment. Knowing this, you will likely find that restaurants are your favorite customers.

 Define that market more completely. You are looking to meet more owners of non-chain restaurants with the average meal price under twelve dollars for lunch or breakfast. These businesses have (or want) an active to-go trade and have more than twenty and less than fifty tables, located in Wake County.

It is relatively easy for your business partners to identify these businesses. They may frequent them occasionally or may be very close friends with the owner. You can strategize with each opportunity completely and you can become an expert in the food service industry. Will you service dry cleaners and auto repair shops, as well? Of course, but leverage your networking community by focusing their efforts on restaurant introductions.

You will find in time that these restaurant owners need more services than you can provide—such as staffing, furniture, uniforms, pest control, menu printing, signage, etc. When you build strategic alliances with these companies the opportunities expand tremendously.


It all starts with this specific exercise.

Here are ten attributes for business-to-consumer and business-to-business markets. Add more and fill in the elements as fully as possible.

For business-to-business consider things like Public or Private, Profit or Non-Profit, Industry, Specialty or Type of Business, Size (Revenue,) Size (Employees,) Location, Years in Business, Department, and Title.

For business-to-consumer consider Gender, Age, Marital status, Home Owner or Renter, Children/no children, Working or retired, Household income, Location, Education, and Family structure, among others.

Remember, this exercise is counter-intuitive and you will be tempted to skip or short change this. Please resist that temptation and paint a vivid picture of your perfect customer.

© 2017 by Stephen Hand of Triangle BNI. All rights reserved. No part of this document may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior written permission of Stephen Hand of Triangle BNI.

Written by bniguy

January 15, 2017 at 12:37 pm

Posted in HowTo

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