Sales Preparations: What is my target group?

4 minutes of reading

Sales Preparations: What is my target group?

In the last article we talked about the strategies you can choose to get in contact with your potential clients. In order to figure that out, we need to define our target group or groups first as precise as possible.

Target groups are usefull, if the people of the group are very similar in certain aspects (homogeneous) and vary a lot compared to other groups. A characteristic of a target group could be that all have the same needs. Therefore it would be wrong to define a target group just by formalities like the age, let's say "everyone who is older than 40 years old". If you have a shop for sports equipment it would be better to pick "people older than 40 that do sports and care about fashion".

If you have a rough idea what your target groups could be, the next step is to identify the problems of each group. What are their needs, what is their biggest pain point? And what could be the solution? Doing this you need to keep the right perspective in mind. What matters is, what solves the problem from your clients perspective, not what YOU think would be good. Many vendors are in love with their products, the high-tech they are offering and millions of features. But just take this simple question: If you could buy wholes, who would buy a drill? Customers want wholes, not drills. And there could be 10 different ways to sell them wholes.

So don't be too much in love with your product, but find out about the needs of your potential clients and offer solutions. To find out what people need, you can check internet forums, read their magazines and of course, speak to them and ask. When you talk to people, make sure to ask for their needs, not what they consider a solution. Otherwise you will come to the same result as Henry Ford:

"If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses."
Henry Ford

Finding the fitting solution is your job, not your clients.

The classification of target group, problem and solution is in most cases a two-step process, because it is difficult to define the biggest problem without a target group in mind. But if you have a rough idea of your target group you can work yourself closer step by step.

Dangers and common mistakes

Customers, or humans in general, often don't make rational decisions, but based on emotions. This means that your product could sell much better or worse than almost the identical product of your competitor. With a strong brand you might not sell a better product, but a better feeling. Thus don't make your target groups too big or cluttered, because that way you can address exactly their problem and appear as a sepecialist for exactly this group. Clients appreciate if you care for them and maybe their niche "in particular" and look at you as a more professional vendor. If you have more than one target group, it is necessary to address them differently. Not necessarily with a different solution, but pinpointing how the solution solves their problems.

In some markets the actual target group is not able to make the buying decision itself. For example a shop with toys for children needs to make the kids happy AND the parents, as they are paying the bills.

Positioning

After defining your target groups and knowing what solution you want to sell, you need to prioritize the "must haves" and "nice to haves" of your product. That way you can find your position in the market and also know about you differentiations compared to competitors (cheaper, easier to use, more features, better service etc.).Your unique selling proposition (usp) could be offering a very easy and cheap way to solve maybe 80 percent of a problem. For many potential clients this is totally enough, if they don't have to dig much deeper in this topic and only pay less than your competitor charges for the 120 percent solution. Finding your niche means not to try addressing all the possible needs, but to concentrate on the ones of your target group. Just because some people are having some problems does not mean you need to solve all those problems. Do not try to everybodies darling, otherwise you end up being nobodies.

I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.
Bill Cosby

Communication

What and how you communicate regarding your product or company will probably make a crucial difference. If your costumer only thinks your company is better, you already won half of the game. See the tobacco industry, where several companies spent millions on marketing in creating a certain emotion connection to their product, although actually all are selling the same product.

That said, it is important to be plausible, authentic and constant over a long period of time with your communication. When a traditonal business consultancy suddenly tries to be cool and sell social media consulting, nobody will take them serious. Cobbler, stick to your trade - and be better than the others.

by Sven Sester (G+) about sales and acquisition

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