Where to get started with buyer personas.

First off, why do you need Buyer Personas?  

If you accept that the customer wields most of the power in a buying-selling situation then it follows that you should understand your customer.  It’s almost trite to say it. 

But here’s the problem.  All of us think we know our customers, after all we meet with them regularly, we talk to them, we question them.  Unfortunately we rarely ask them the basic questions that will lead us to customer enlightenment.

Here’s what we normally ask customers:

  • What do you think of our products?
  • Are they doing a job for you?
  • Are they easy to use?
  • What score out of 10 would you give us for our customer support?

…and on it goes.

Can you spot the problem with these questions?

Put simply they are not customer centric, they are ‘you’ centric.  You want the customer to tell you all about your products when the customer barely gives them a second thought, unless they go wrong.

The process of building buyer personas starts with meeting your existing customers.  Go and meet them and arm yourself with a number of questions (6 at the very most 4 is best).

What should we be asking customers in order to build really good buyer personas?

It’s dead simple.  Ask them about themselves.  Depending on which buyer persona you’re talking to, you might want to change the questions.

  • What does a day look like to them?
  • What goals and objectives are they tasked with?
  • What are the things that really grind their gears about suppliers like you?

Keep going till you really understand the person in front of you.

Top Tip –  don’t sell them anything, stay off the subject of your company and its products and services.

Another Top Tip – you might want to think about using an external company for this work.

Once you arm yourself with 6 or more of these interviews, you’ll start to see patterns emerging.  These should form the basis of your buyer persona along with any research work you’ve done.

If you want to know what a buyer persona looks like, click here.

“You can no longer market to the anonymous masses. They’re not anonymous and they’re not masses. You can only market to people who are willing participants. ”   Seth Godin.

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