Understand your customers and they will understand you

As entrepreneurs, how can we better understand our customers to increase sales? Instead of focusing on selling, entrepreneurs should begin by asking questions and understanding the customer.  A survey is a great starting point.

Surveys and tools are great ways to learn about your customers. Far too many entrepreneurs, do not take advantage of this opportunity. Sometimes entrepreneurs don’t feel it is appropriate to ask customer’s what their budget is or how much they are willing to pay. However, most customers will answer and would prefer to work with a business who understands their situation. Don’t let emotional barriers stop you from understanding your customer.

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A survey helps to initiate the dialogue and provides information about the customer. There are three different survey methods:

  1. A telephone interview where you spend 10 minutes on the phone with the customer.
  2. A personal interview where you have a one-on-one conversation with the customer.
  3. A questionnaire survey where you send an online survey to an email list.

Regardless of the type of survey, there are three tools that can help you initiate the survey or interview:

  1. Make a Survey Protocol: Identify which questions to ask. Questions may inquire about customer details (e.g. business size), customer needs (e.g. challenges or problems), or customers preferences (e.g. how the customer shops).
  2. Make a List of Respondents: Create a list of all the individuals and businesses who will receive the questionnaire. Make sure the list is long enough that you will receive enough responses.
  3. Use the Customer Database: The customer database can help you collect all the information you receive from the survey or interviews. If you do not have a CRM, simply use an Excel spreadsheet.

After a customer survey, you should follow up with respondents 2-3 weeks after the survey completion. In the follow-up, you can mention the problem you previously discussed and offer a solution. With more information about your customer, you can better accommodate their needs and preferences.

Rather than pushing a product, it is better to identify a need in the market and provide a solution. This is the fundamental difference between marketing and selling. A survey is the first step in understanding your market. The most successful entrepreneurs understand their customers and customize their products/services to meet their needs.

If would like guidance on constructing a survey or interview to better understand your customers, contact us to coordinate your GrowthWheel one-on-one consultation.