How buyer profiles present in a service-based business

Rachel Klaver is a marketing strategist, specialising in lead generation and content marketing. OPINION: I’ve used buyer profiles in retail businesses before, but they have just as much merit when applied to a service-based business. I’m not sure why we seem to think humans will be any different depending on whether they are buying a vacuum cleaner or contracting a cleaner. In the end, your services are still products that humans are choosing to spend their money on. There are nine key buyer profiles we can intentionally (and unintentionally) attract. No one is better than the other, but you and your business will fit some more than others. It’s a matter of being aware of who you’re attracting, who you are ignoring that you could attract, and who you have consciously decided to repel with your marketing and sales style. I’m a big fan of using the marketing and sales process to help find your ideal clients, by showing them at the outset what your own business values and boundaries are for. A simple example of this is choosing to only email your prospects during work hours, if that’s what you have as a core way of working with your clients. For me, we do the vast majority of work via Zoom. This is why we also do our sales calls via Zoom too. If the person is uncomfortable with this, they may also be uncomfortable with working with us, too. When I went through the nine buyer profiles I found several I don’t want to attract, and a few I’d like to do better in drawing in. Use this list, and mentally check against it what you could do in your marketing to help these types of people want to buy from your service-based business. The Browser For me, my whole marketing approach is to help the browser. I’ve got people on my email list who’ve been there for three years or more before becoming a client. These curious individuals stumble upon our content, and while they may not be ready to make a purchase right away, we can capture their interest by infusing our content with personality and emotion. It’s essential to let them get a real sense of who we are, to truly understand our voice and the way we do things. When they resonate with us, they’re more likely to choose us over our competitors who don’t evoke the same connection. These people will choose us because we consistently resonate with them. They didn’t find us when they were ready to buy. But as soon as they are, they’re coming to us (I often get people emailing me saying: “Love your content. Not ready for you yet, but I’m going to be one day!”). The Bargain Hunter In writing this I realised this was me. I’m definitely always sniffing around for a good deal. This is an issue because I also don’t believe we should be discounting our products and services to get the sale. However, we can cater to these types of buyers without discount. We just need to provide great deals. To grab their attention, we can offer them lower-cost options or limited-time promotions. For me, I’ve learned that by providing resources, workshops, or even my book, that they can engage with at a lower price point, they can get a taste of what we have to offer and develop a stronger connection with us. I also use free content.I provide that with things like this column, my podcast, my email newsletter and my blogs. They get value, and then it’s my job to show them that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to working with me. Showroomers Showroomers are one type of buyer I’m starting to work harder to attract. I’m weirdly reluctant to share testimonials (of which I have hundreds) and feedback. I literally have to force myself to do it. What I’ve learned is these types of buyers can take a while to make a decision but they are locked in once they decide, and they become incredible word-of-mouth referrers to others. For me, they are worth connecting with. These savvy buyers are thorough researchers who want to know all the details before making a decision. Testimonials and feedback from other customers become crucial in gaining their trust. Sharing testimonials that highlight the benefits and outcomes others have experienced can be a powerful tool in showcasing the value of our services. Testimonials help potential customers understand the benefits they can receive by working with us, and they serve as social proof of our expertise and credibility. The “I’m on a mission” These are also great clients, and again a section I’ve ignored in my marketing without realising it. Again this comes down to a reluctance to “show off” in my content. I’m working on this as I’m teaching my clients to become better at it, and I don’t like being a hypocrite as I do! These individuals come prepared with a detailed checklist of requirements. To cater to their needs, we must clearly outline the features and benefits of our services. It’s important to highlight what sets us apart and the specific outcomes they can expect to achieve. Testimonials play a vital role here as well. They help potential customers envision the results they can achieve by working with us. However, we don’t need to give them everything they want. It’s ok to have boundaries. I’ve encountered mission shoppers who requested to see strategies I’ve created for other clients. That’s a no from me, as it’s sharing someone else’s document, and also my intellectual property. It’s also often showing them the wrong part of the process, which is the completed document. The strength in my work is in the conversations we have to create it (which again is why I prefer to get them on a Zoom instead). The Impulse Buyer This might be a perfect fit for your business, but not for me, unless it’s a lower-cost product like a webinar, my book or a small course. I often recommend service-based business owners don’t target this type of customer unless you’ve got one that solves a pain point that’s easily resolved, and you aren’t necessarily looking for a repeat purchase. Impulse buyers make quick decisions based on their gut instincts or limited-time offers. To capture their attention, we can create enticing, low-cost options that allow them to experience a taste of what we offer. If you’re going to target these buyers, having a chat on your website and being quick to respond to social media questions is key. These buyers want it right now. The Chatties I’ve got nothing against this type of buyer, but they aren’t a fit for my personality and business style. It’s not a “them” problem. It’s a me issue. I’ve got ADHD and love to talk. I can easily overshare, and add too much value in a sales call. I’ve had to learn to be pretty strong about moving people off phone calls and on to zooms that we’ve scheduled to prevent my entire week to be filled with chats with potential clients that often lead to nowhere. Boundaries are needed when it comes to me, clients and time. Chatties are enthusiastic individuals who often seek free advice or consultations without genuine intentions of becoming paying customers. It’s crucial to set clear boundaries and protect our time and expertise. This is also why I teach my clients to ditch the “discovery call” and rename it a “check the fit” call which has a higher sales intent. You may get less of them, but your conversion rate will go up. Rather than offering endless free consultations, transitioning to structured sales meetings can guide them towards a more committed decision-making process. It’s an area where I’ve struggled in the past, as I genuinely enjoy helping people and can sometimes give away too much for free. I’ve learned the importance of creating boundaries and directing these individuals to group interactions where others can benefit as well. The Indecisive Shopper Indecisive shoppers take their time when making purchasing decisions. They often have specific obstacles or objections that need addressing. Patience, providing necessary information, and offering support are key in navigating the indecisiveness. It’s important to stay true to our values and clearly communicate the benefits of our services. Addressing their objections and concerns while giving them the space they need to reach a decision is crucial. I’ve learned that when faced with a money objection, it’s not merely about the cost but about the perceived value and trust that need to be established. Giving them time and ensuring they have all the information they need is incredibly important I personally can find the key is to not over push, and allow them to take the time they need. Follow-up is key, but be wary of converting them before they are ready. It will cause you no end of pain as they stay indecisive as you work with them.UnsplashIndecisive shoppers take their time when making purchasing decisions. They often have specific obstacles or objections that need addressing. (file photo) The Fully Educated These buyers are slow to act, but when they do they come in hot. Educated buyers are well-informed individuals who have followed our content for years. They have done their research and have a deep understanding of what we offer. Nurturing these relationships requires consistently providing valuable content through various channels. Our website should be clear and informative, while regular promotions and offers can keep them engaged and interested. It’s important to provide actionable opportunities for them to take the next step in their journey with us. I normally recommend dedicating 10% to 20% of our content to serve these educated buyers is essential. They have invested time in us, and we should reciprocate by offering content that caters specifically to their needs. The Loyal Customer Service-based businesses can build a highly successful business by harnessing the magic of these types of buyers. They book and rebook with us, they tell others about us, and they always remember to pay. Our loyal customers deserve our utmost appreciation. They have stuck with us through thick and thin, and they become our biggest advocates. Offering exclusive discounts, early access to new offerings, and free resources is a way to reward their loyalty. These loyal customers often refer others to our business, and their support is invaluable. Recognising their loyalty and showing gratitude helps solidify our relationship and build long-lasting partnerships. Understanding these nine buyer profiles allows us to tailor our marketing approach and connect with potential customers on a deeper level. By recognising the specific profiles that resonate with our business, we can identify areas where adjustments can be made in our marketing strategies to help talk to the best buyer types for our business model. It’s important to remember that patience, value, and consistency are key when engaging with different buyer profiles. It’s absolutely fine to have several types that you don’t cater to. The key is to take the time to really think about which types work best for your business, then create content in your marketing that helps them get ready to buy. This can grow your business, without significantly changing what you are selling.

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