Know your customer – and don’t sell them a tent!

Understanding customers is paramount in business


When your customer wants a couch – don’t sell them a tent!

I was reminded of the golden rule to know your customer last week when I messaged a local buy, swap, sell post asking if their couch was still for sale. I received a message back saying “No, but I have these.” I waited for some images of armchairs or couches to come through and then I got a series of items including boots, cricket bats and a tent.

Now, this seller wasn’t a business obviously, but it gave me a good giggle and reminded me about the principles involved in buying and selling! It may seem obvious but after years in business, it’s easy to stray from your early objectives.  So I urge you to use this as a reminder.

Know your customer

Business 101 says you need to know your customer. You may already know that your key demographic is female, 20-35 in Brisbane. But what else do you know about them? Have you created profiles for your target customer?

Narrow down your customer to a few key profiles and give them names. If this was your target audience, you might have:

Social Stacey
In a relationship
Goes to festivals, food markets and the gym
Eats out 2-3 nights per week
Large friends base
Instagrams and Snapchats everything
Wears converse and LuluLemon

You might also have:

Busy Brenda
Mother of a toddler
Works part-time
Eats home-cooked meals 6-7 nights per week
Wears Kmart and target clothes
Checks in on Facebook at night when she has 5 minutes

See how different the same target market is? You could send two newsletters, one for Social Stacey about the must-be place this Saturday for a sale or event and one for Busy Brenda who can access your sale online or deserves to take some time out for herself. It comes down to understanding customers.

Know your upsell

I have to give kudos where it’s deserved, and the seller of the couch I wanted on the buy, swap, sell page was fantastic at trying to upsell his other wares! It’s just got to complement the buyer – this is where it failed for me.

If the seller had cushions or a rug, that might help me complete my lounge room. So if you have a buyer with a bag or clutch at the online or physical store checkout, can you suggest a coin purse or wallet? What about a tie with that collared shirt? Service stations offer me chocolates all the time for my drive home! This works for services too. Half price teeth whitening with a general checkup at the dentist? Or how about a wax with that haircut?

Suggestions, when done well, can show you are being helpful and customers appreciate this.

Do you know what you would upsell against each of your products or services?

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