Discovering Your Ideal Customer

Episode 15: Discovering Your Ideal Customer

In this new episode of The RevolutionFI Podcast, Tim talks about the importance of discovering your ideal customer.

“So, the question is this: How can 50+ folks like us, honest and hard-working, how do we manage our current responsibilities and still plan for retirement? 401ks alone won’t be enough and we don’t have 40 years to save, so how do we leverage our experience and wisdom to gain financial independence? That is the question, and this podcast will give you the answers. My name is Tim, and welcome to the Revolution. The RevolutionFI podcast.”

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Music: Cool Rock by Kevin MacLeod

Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/3552-cool-rock 

License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/ 


Happy Monday to you. Glad to be back here RevolutionFI podcast. Hopefully you’re having a great start to your week.

And today’s episode is going to be about discovering your ideal customer. This is something that we all struggle with. And it’s something that I am struggling with. Right now.

Before I get into that, I have a small request I would like to ask of you, if you’ve been listening to the podcast, and you like what you hear, please tell someone else about it. There’s no question that word of mouth is the most powerful form of marketing. So I could use the power of your mouth at this point, thank you.

Customer Discovery

Alright, so let’s get into today’s episode, customer discovery. What does that even mean? Well, let’s talk about it. It seems obvious on the surface, who do you want to serve? Who do you create products for services for? It seems obvious. But the problem, the problem that I’m dealing with, the problem I continue to deal with, and that most entrepreneurs can’t shake is that we always start out too broad.

Now, this feels counterintuitive. Because what you think is, I need to build something that’s going to help as many people as possible. And that’s true, that’s your goal. But you can’t build it for everybody. Because you know, the old cliche is that not everyone is going to like what you make, and if you try and build it for everyone, you’re building it for no one.

Go Against Your Intuition

So what you have to do is you have to invert that. You have to go against your your intuition and you have to get as Super specific as possible. I had a great conversation with a very successful entrepreneur who was helping me out and he asked me who my ideal customer was. When I told him, which I thought was pretty specific. He said, yeah, that’s not specific enough and he gave me an example of how he was going to drill down even further into that archetype.

It made me realize that saying, I wanted to serve people who are in their 40s and 50s and worried about retirement was way too broad. That probably applies to you on some level. But what I need to do to build out a product or a service is I have to get even more specific and it doesn’t mean I’m excluding you.

So for example, if I if I discover that the people I’m best able to serve are men between the ages of 45 and 50, who teach at a private school, have at least one child in college, and haven’t contributed to their retirement account in five years. That might be who I’m building something for, it doesn’t mean it can’t help other people.

Get Specific

But that’s the level of specificity that I need to get to. So as you think about what it is you want to build or who it is you want to serve, you have to get really specific.

Now Seth Godin has a famous phrase, his phrase is, “I made this for you.” And I love that I love that. I love the imagery that that creates and I think what’s different there is that we always hear at least in the publishing industry. We’ve heard about Kevin Kelly’s 1000 true fans, and that is absolute gold. If you just Google that and read that article came out years ago, but I’m feeling like it’s losing relevance.

And I really like this idea that Seth Godin puts forward of doing it for 10 people, I made this for you, and handing it to 10 people and see what they do with it, or asking 10 people, what are you struggling with right now? So how do you do that?

The Big Question

That’s the big question. Right?

Let me tell you what I’m doing right now. And I think this is something that can be used in in any capacity and it’s something I taught as an entrepreneurship teacher, which is kind of embarrassing that I had to be reminded of it myself. What I’m doing is I’m setting up Zoom interviews, because I need to talk to people. And I need to hear what their problems are. And the way you want to phrase it. The way you want to think about this before you start talking to people is what problem are you trying to solve?

Generally speaking, if you’re talking about a marketplace solution, so I’m not talking about a nonprofit, or a church initiative, I’m talking about something you want to take to market and sell. you essentially have three buckets to work from health. wealth and relationships.

Validate Your Solution

Now your solution or your proposed solution, or the solution you want to validate, could come from all three of those, but you got to pick one and that’s got to be where you start.

So for me, it was wealth. I decided with RevolutionFI, I wanted to focus on helping people with problems around wealth, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t pertain to relationships, or that you don’t have to be physically healthy, to be financially sound. But that was going to be my target and so I’ve decided, I am going to ask people who I believe are my ideal customer, I’m going to ask them one question. The question is, in regards to finances, what’s keeping you up at night?

I think I know what, what’s keeping them up at night. But I need to hear that from them. I need to have my hypothesis, validated, scientific method. It’s basic stuff and it’s something I’ve overlooked so many times.

Work the Hypothesis

I’m glad I’m having this reminder. Now, before I rush out and build something, clearly, I’m building the podcast. But this podcast is as much for you as it is for me. I’m trying to work through my hypothesis. So I think what’s keeping people up at night for my ideal customer is the fact that retirement is on the horizon and they don’t really have a plan. 

But I need to validate that. So when I have these conversations, I’m going to really focus on not leading questions. I don’t want to say what if I built x? Would you purchase that? That is a leading question. I’m also not looking for validating my solution. I’m not going to tell these people what I have in mind to build for them and ask them if that would solve their problem.

There’s a lot of studies and literature on why keeping your questions open ended with your ideal customer is ideal, as opposed to ask me in the validate the solutions you’ve already determined are going to work.

Listening Instead of Talking

And most importantly, on the Zoom interviews, I’m going to be listening, instead of talking, I’m going to do my best to listen to what they have to say rephrase things back to them and just taking good notes, being a good listener. I hope that helps.

It’s not easy discovering your ideal customer. It takes a lot of work, a lot of patience and you have to work really hard to tease out themes from multiple interviews. I’m hoping to have dozens of them. And at some point, I’m going to have to sit down, go through those interviews, and pull out things that I’ve heard over and over again and that I hope will validate the solution I have in my mind.

If it doesn’t, I will have to come up with a new hypothesis and start the process all over again.

Well, that’s it for today’s episode. That’s where my head is on this Monday morning. Hopefully that gave you some ideas if you are trying to figure out who it is you want to serve, or what it is you want to build. I will see you tomorrow with Tuesday’s trends.

Transcription by Otter.ai, please forgive the bot for typos and mistakes.
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