Recently on the Remarkable Marketing Blueprint* forum, some folks were saying nice things about the space I’d created.
And I have to admit — I love it there. The members are generous and supportive, everyone is working their tails off and making progress like crazy. It’s exhilarating and warm and fuzzy all at the same time.
But here’s the thing.
I didn’t make it that way
You may know that I’m into visualizing one single, perfect customer for your business.
That means you figure out the perfect person that you want to do business with. Then you always speak directly, one-to-one, to that person. Your blog, your email, even a highway billboard should be written for that person and no one else.
I thought I understood how that worked. Basically, it activates your brain to perceive that person when you’re out and about. (Otherwise, trust me, she’ll be standing right in front of you and you won’t see her.)
It makes your communication feel more intimate, because you’re using the language of individual conversation rather than giving a speech to millions. And your conversational, intimate tone will make customers (particularly those who look like your perfect customer) feel really comfortable and welcome.
But there’s a part I didn’t get.
Your customers shape your business
Business decisions get made to solve problems and open up opportunities. Usually a lot more of the former than the latter.
When you don’t do any work to define your customer, you have to create a lot of policies and processes to deal with people you shouldn’t be dealing with in the first place.
- Time-wasters and energy vampires
- People who can’t afford your service or don’t get enough value from it, so they’re always battling you on price
- Negative people
- Mean people
- People whose personalities are incompatible with yours (maybe they’re flakes and you’re a stickler for detail, or vice versa)
You get the idea.
Some of them might be perfectly nice. But they’re not right for you. And when you have customers who aren’t right for you, they invariably become a gigantic pain in the ass.
When you know exactly who your customer is, you shape your product and service so it’s exactly what she wants, the way she wants it.
So you’re not creating that business. She is.
Honestly, it’s kinda spooky.
The problem with appealing to bottom-feeders
You may know that I’ve gained a little notoriety making fun of the “yellow highlighter” internet marketers.
It’s not that I think they’re bad guys, or crooks. (Ok, some of them are crooks, but some are 100% straight shooters.)
I just don’t like the way their customers have shaped their businesses.
They pitch to the lowest common denominator, to the “get rich quick” business opportunity junkie who has no faith in himself. That customer is always looking for a magic pill. He only responds to a “fast money, no work” message, and that ends up shaping the marketing and the business.
Some of the yellow highlighter guys are actually terrific teachers. But their message gets messed up because they’re going for a problematic customer.
The distinction between connection and marketing gets fuzzy
Naomi and Mark had a really interesting call last week that touched on the times in our business when we’re creating connection, and how that can be at odds with the times when we’re selling something.
I won’t say the boundary ever completely dissolves. There is a difference.
But when you’ve uncovered who your exact perfect person is and then you shape the business around what she cares about, selling really does become a form of connection.
And there’s another side to it — you don’t kill yourself building extraneous stuff that doesn’t really float her boat. (In other words, stuff that won’t create a connection or sell.)
You’re making an offer of help, rather than “asking for the sale.” You don’t need to out-yell the Sham-Wow guy, because the product itself is doing the shouting for you:
I’m the perfect product! I’m exactly what you’ve been looking for! I’m going to help you and make your life better and you’re going to be so glad we found each other. Buy me, you gorgeous perfect customer, you!
When connection and selling come together, even though it’s a lot of work, it doesn’t feel like work. It feels completely absorbing and interesting and you wish you had more hours in the day so you could do more of it.
Anyway, that’s how I see it. How about you? Had any moments where a customer shaped your business, your practice, your service? (Could be either in a good way or a bad.) Let us know about it in the comments.