Understand your customers' needs

Ten things you need to know about your customers

Consider the following questions to build your understanding of your customers’ needs:

1. Who they are
If you sell directly to individuals, find out your customers' gender, age and occupation. If you sell to other businesses, find out what industry they are in, their size and the kind of business they are. For example, are they a small private company or a big multinational? Knowing this can help you identify similar businesses that you could target.

2. What they do
If you sell directly to individuals, it's worth knowing their occupations and interests. If you sell to other businesses, it helps to have an understanding of what their business is trying to achieve.

3. Why they buy
If you know why customers buy a product or service, it's easier to match their needs to the benefits your business can offer.

4. When they buy
If you approach a customer just at the time they want to buy, you will massively increase your chances of success.

5. How they buy
For example, some people prefer to buy from a website, while others prefer a face-to-face meeting.

6. How much money they have
You'll be more successful if you can match what you're offering to what you know your customer can afford. Premium, higher priced products are unlikely to be successful if most of your customers are on a limited budget - unless you can identify new customers with the spending power to match.

7. What makes them feel good about buying
If you know what makes them tick, you can serve them in the way they prefer.

8. What they expect of you
For example, if your customers expect reliable delivery and you don't disappoint them, you stand to gain repeat business.

9. What they think about you
If your customers enjoy dealing with you, they're likely to buy more. And you can only tackle problems that customers have if you know what they are.

10. What they think about your competitors
If you know how your customers view your competition, you stand a much better chance of staying ahead of your rivals.