I was reading the second issue of a newsletter called Memoirs of Mastery by Troy Broussard, and this lesson really hit home.
Then I realized that it would be directly applicable to your store!
Does this sound familiar?
Without a doubt, you’ve experienced interactions with customers that are less than enjoyable.
Maybe they tie up your customer service for unnecessarily long periods of time over small purchases.
Maybe they ask for refunds despite terms clearly being stated prior to purchase.
One thing I’ve seen with a company I work with is people constantly asking if there is another sale coming up soon.
Regardless of the specifics, dealing with these people sucks all the joy from your life, at times making you wonder if you should just close your business and go get a job.
Well, there’s good news and bad news…
The bad news first?
You trained them to be this way.
When you coddle a troublesome customer, acquiescing to their every whim…
When you allow them to abuse your generous return policy…
When you only communicate with them to announce a sale…
You’re creating this monster yourself.
You get the kind of customer that you allow.
And we all know that all customers aren’t created equal.
It’s time to end the notion that the “customer is always right.” Anyone who has actually worked with customers knows this to be incorrect.
This is not to say that these customers are bad people (though some are), or that you have a license to treat customers poorly (you don’t).
It’s simply to say that not everyone is a good fit for your business/shop/product, and you shouldn’t waste your precious time on those people. There’s someone else out there better suited to serve them.
Thankfully there’s good news!
The beautiful thing about a problem that you’ve caused for yourself is…
You can also be the one to fix it!
These terrible customers are a direct result of the way that you’ve been running your business. Now that we know this, we can take steps to fix it!
*Something important to note: this repeatedly references your ideal customer rather than your perfect customer… because perfect doesn’t exist.
3 ways to attract your ideal customers while repelling everyone else
- Be clear on who your ideal customer is.
Kind of a no-brainer, right? But often, we don’t really take the time to sit down and think very specifically about who we want to work with.
When you’ve got a stock of product just sitting around, it’s tempting to take money from whoever offers it. This is a very personal decision, but if you don’t like your customers, figure out why that is, and figure out how to fix it by describing, in detail, your ideal customer.
- Be the kind of person you want to work with.
That Memoirs of Mastery issue I mentioned had the following quote:
“The best way to attract the client you really want, is to be that person.”
It’s fine to have expectations of people, but you shouldn’t expect one thing from your customers if you’re not that way as a consumer yourself.
For example, do you want your customers to be more understanding if you have shipping delays? Then don’t freak out when you order something that doesn’t show up exactly when you expect it to.
You will attract people who are similar to you.
- Shape your communications (<ahem>EMAIL<ahem>) to appeal to your desired customer.
I didn’t want to stray too far from email-related topics! This is a multi-faceted area of discussion, but it boils down to giving your brand a voice that matches the people you want to work with.
One great way to accomplish this is to BE YOURSELF in your emails (even if someone else writes them). Don’t try to be some stodgy corporate automaton if that’s not who you are. Are you funny? Silly? Conservative? Liberal? Do you cuss? It’s all fine.
Don’t water down your brand by trying to appeal to everyone. That just makes you boring! Your customers will appreciate your personality. If they don’t, then you saved yourself the trouble of trying to change your personality just to keep someone else happy.
Even though I don’t own the business I briefly referenced above, it really irks me when people constantly ask for discount codes, or when the next sale is. These products are good quality, and the price is already competitive, if not better than many similar brands.
BUT, over the course of the last couple of years, they trained their list to wait for a discount by having codes come out every couple of weeks. That’s a quick way to make some sales, but it also teaches your list that it would be stupid to pay full price.
Also… trying to compete by having the lowest price brings you CHEAP CUSTOMERS. Don’t commoditize your product (even if everyone else does).
This leads me to a topic for another day, but we’ll touch on it here…
Communicate with your customers regularly.
Not just for a new product launch or a sale.
This helps you build the relationship. Nothing irritates me more than when a business only emails when they have a new thing to sell. Even when I like the idea of the company.
In addition, the things that you send to your list can subtly (or not-so-subtly) communicate your values and expectations for your customers.
The stories you share, the products you sell, it all contributes.
Your ideal customer is out there. Hopefully you aleady have some on your list.
But it makes your life infinitely easier and more enjoyable when you can not only work with your ideal customer, but avoid working with people who drain the life out of you.
Thoughts on this? How do you attract your ideal customer? Leave me a comment!