It’s the last Tuesday of the month and October is very close to being over. If you’re still waiting for everything to be perfect before you start your business, then you’re not doing yourself any favours. Do some research, learn what you need and get the ball rolling already.
Today on The Entrepreneur’s Corner, we are here with some insights into customer behaviour. And hopefully, by the end of this article, you’ll be asking yourself all the right questions about who exactly it is that you’re selling your product or service to.
Petra Aba Asamoah is the author of Sales 101, a book that is an incredible resource in helping entrepreneurs with their business decisions. In this article, we get answers from Petra on some questions that every entrepreneur has thought about at one point or another.
Do You Develop A Product First And Then Look For Customers? Or Do You Find Customers’ Demand And Then Develop A Product To Meet That Demand?
When you’re a business-minded person it’s not out of the ordinary for you to have an idea that you feel will be successful at market. However, you need to understand that customers decide whether or not your business works, not how good your product or service is.
According to Petra, we all have latent needs. These are things that we need, but we don’t know that we need. A quick example is cars. Before they were invented people knew that they didn’t like walking long distances. However, what they didn’t know was that they wanted a car. That’s one of the reasons why entrepreneur’s are so important. They think ahead and try and anticipate the things that people will need and provide those solutions.
While entrepreneurial innovation is a good thing, what is bad is when you have already designed a product, and have no idea who your actual customer is. A lot of your business decisions depend on who your customer is. That means your pricing depends on who your customer is, your communication decisions and even your distribution decisions depend on who your customer is.
Not being in sync with your customers will prevent you from being successful, even if your product is as good as you believe it is. One thing you can to do better get in tune with your customer base is testing your minimum viable product. What are customers willing to pay for your product? How can you make it accessible to them?
How Do Customers Make Buying Decisions?
Everyone goes through a process before they make any buying decisions. As a customer yourself, you want to know that you’re getting the best value for your money. You want the best possible outcome for the money that’s going to be leaving your wallet or your account.
The customer buying decision process starts with a need. The main reason why we buy anything—other than terrible self-control—is because we have a need. After identifying a need, then we start looking for information. We want to know where you can get our particular solution from, what the prices are and so on. At this point, we would have come up with some options.
Then we start looking for insights into these options. We ask for recommendations from friends and family members, we see what influencers have to say and we look up reviews on websites and social media.
As an entrepreneur, it is your job to make every step of the buying decision as seamless as possible for your customers. If you sell on Instagram don’t ask them to DM for prices, and definitely don’t ask your customers to make their own delivery arrrangements.
How Do You Maintain Your Customers As A Small Business?
To answer this question, Petra gives a very relatable example. When you go to the market to buy something, you get called “customer,” “bossu,” or “madam” because those people all want you to buy from them. They want to make you feel good to you because in the end, everybody likes feeling important.
As a business, you need to treat your customers as important. If you want to retain customers, know them by name and remember them. Acknowledge them when they come into your business premises. You want to stop your customer’s purchasing decisions from just being a transaction, and actually becoming a part if their lifestyle.
When you treat your customers well, and don’t take them for granted, they are also more likely to recommend your business to other people who might be interested in your product.
The Entrepreneur’s Corner is a weekly series that brings you business tips and insights from people with real-world business experience.