- Number of children
- Personal interests
- Associations they are involved in
- Magazines they read
- Wants and wishes
- Challenges they face
Possessing this depth of knowledge about your customers allows you to deliver the solutions that they need at the right time, place, and price. There are several methods for gaining this type of knowledge including sending surveys, networking at business events, and leveraging social media.
As social media becomes more ubiquitous, platforms such as LinkedIn have increasingly become the go to tool for becoming an expert on your customers and prospects. Specifically, LinkedIn Groups are an excellent tool for learning about your prospects and customers.
LinkedIn Groups were developed to provide a place for professionals to share content, post questions, find answers, and to connect with people with similar interests. If you are not currently participating in LinkedIn Groups you are missing out on a huge opportunity. Here are a few tips to maximize using LinkedIn Groups:
- Join Groups that your customers join – Resist the temptation to just join groups that are specific to your industry, you should be focusing on the groups that your customers are part of. Take a moment to find several customers or prospects that you would like to connect with. View their profiles and find out which groups they are part of and join those groups.
- Don’t use Groups for advertising – Although you are joining these groups to eventually build connections with prospects, avoid using groups to self-promote. No one in a group wants to see a lot of advertising for your company.
- Join the maximum number of groups – Currently the maximum number of groups you can join on LinkedIn is 50, so join 50. Although this might seem like a lot, failing to join all 50 means that you are missing out on news and discussions that help you better understand your customers and prospects.
- Remain active – Remaining active in the groups is the number one thing that you can do to increase your understanding of your customers. By remaining active and engaging in discussions you will continue to learn things about customers and prospects that you would not normally have the opportunity to learn.
- Ask questions – Part of being active in Groups should include asking questions that are compelling, thought-provoking, and relate to your company’s expertise. By asking questions you will be more equipped to deliver products and services that speak to your clients’ wants and needs.
So, You’re An Expert…Now What?
Now that you have gained a deeper insight into your customers’ needs and wants, it’s time to put that information to use answering questions and providing useful materials. First, consider speaking at local community events or offering a free webinar for customers or prospects. As with Groups, don’t use these events as a way to self promote, use them to build your standing as an expert. You will begin to see that prospects convert to customers at a much higher rate when you are seen as an expert in your niche.
In addition, if you find that customers and prospects are asking the same questions repeatedly consider drafting a white paper or other document for download from your website. An even better way of sharing your expertise is setting up a blog where you can share your knowledge with others on a routine basis.
Buyers tend to be much savvier these days and do a lot more research about companies before they decide to make a purchase. By knowing what buyers’ wants and needs are, it is much easier to position yourself as an industry expert. By doing so, they are more likely to trust your advice and purchase your products and services.
Do you have some expertise that your clients or prospects need? How are you leveraging your expertise to convert more prospects to clients? Please leave your comments below, we would love to hear from you.