How To Effectively Interview Ideal Clients

March

8

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Understanding your audience is where successful marketing starts. But how do you accomplish this? One of the simplest and most effective ways is to interview your ideal clients. In today's episode, I'm going to walk you through those high-level steps, the things that you should really consider so that you gain the information you need to truly understand your audience.

Join Tim Fitzpatrick for this week’s episode of The Rialto Marketing Podcast!

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How To Effectively Interview Ideal Clients

Understanding your audience is where successful marketing starts. But how do you accomplish this? One of the simplest and most effective ways is to interview your ideal clients. In today's episode, I'm going to walk you through those high-level steps, the things that you should really consider so that you gain the information you need to truly understand your audience.

Hi, I am Tim Fitzpatrick with Rialto Marketing, where we believe you must remove your revenue roadblocks to accelerate growth, and marketing shouldn't be difficult. Thank you so much for taking the time to tune in.

I'm going to give you as much value as I possibly can today. But when it comes to understanding your audience, you want to know them better than they know themselves. You really want to be able to just enter that conversation that they're having in their head as it relates to what you do. And talking to your ideal clients is a phenomenal way to accomplish this.

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How To Effectively Interview Ideal Clients

Now, let me preface this by saying, I think the easiest way to identify who your ideal clients are. If you are an existing business, you've got current and past past clients. I want you to look back at that audience, your current and past clients, and ask yourself three questions. I call them the three power questions. Who do you love working with? And usually if you love working with them, they love working with you. Two, who are our most profitable clients? And by the way, your most profitable clients are not always the ones that are driving the largest top line revenue number. So keep that in mind. And three, who are you getting great results for? So who do you love working with? Who are your most profitable clients? And who are you getting great results for? That subgroup is a great spot to look for your ideal clients. They are ideal clients, right? Because if you can work with clients like that day in, day out, how much better would your business be? How much more successful would your business be? Those are the people you want to talk to. Okay? So I jumped the gun on that first thing to consider is who should you talk to, right? They got to be ideal clients. They should check off those three power questions.

But the other thing to consider is you are going to get the most valuable insights by talking to people who have recently bought, right? Or who continue to work with you because we're going to want to retrace the steps that they took to buy. So the more recently they have bought, the easier it's going to be for them to recall that information. Super important.

Then we need to think about how can you get people to commit to an interview? Look, the reality is if you have really good relationships with these people, with your ideal clients, it shouldn't be a huge issue getting people on for a 15, 20 minute call. But sometimes, look, we all get busy. This is not the highest priority for them. It's not as much of a priority for them as it is for you. So sending It's just a short, personalized message, asking them for 20, 25 minute call at their convenience. Sometimes you may need to offer an incentive. Maybe you give them a discount of some kind or you send them something, but you want to make this as simple as possible for them. Give them a calendar link so they can book so there's not a lot of back and forth. Just make Make it as easy as possible. And if you feel like you need to incentivize them to schedule an interview, then do it. Ideally, you want to talk to 5, 10 people. If you can talk to 10 to 15, even better. But 5 to 10 is more than enough for most businesses, and the information you're going to gather from these conversations is going to be invaluable.

Next thing we want to think about is what questions should we avoid? We need to think about what questions to ask, but first we need to think about the questions that we want to avoid. Here's what you want to keep in mind here. Most of us are terrible predictors of our own behavior, right? Our actions rarely align with our opinions. We're human. So that's just the reality. We're not great predictors of our own behavior, and our actions rarely align with our opinions, which is why we want to avoid hypothetical questions or asking them to speculate on things in the future. You're not going to get very accurate information if you do that. Instead, we want to ask them to retrace real-life events, retrace their steps in the actual purchasing process, in the customer journey. We want to ask them to retrace those steps. So keep that in mind, right? We want to avoid hypothetical questions or questions that encourage them to speculate. You're not going to get a good information from that.

Next thing we want to look at here is what types of questions should we ask? And by the way, in another month or so, I have another separate episode that is going to be dedicated specifically to an in-depth review of the types of questions that you want to ask. So if you want more detailed info, certainly keep an eye out for that episode. It'll launch in about another month or so. But what types of questions do you want to ask? At a high level, there are a number of questions that we use when doing this for clients. But in general, you want to understand their goals, the outcomes that they were hoping to achieve in working with someone like you. The problems that they had that they wanted to get solved. Were there any triggers? What happened to get them to say, Oh my gosh, I have to do something about this? And then the steps that they actually took in the buying process. Once that trigger happened, what did they do? What was the process that they went through? How did they actually make a buying decision? Why did they choose to work with you over your other competitors? Now that they've worked with you, what has that been like? What do they love about working with you? What objections did they have as they started to interview providers like yours? Those are the types of things that we want to focus on, to better understand just their buying process, because if we can understand their buying process, we can cater our marketing to that journey and help move people through the buyer's journey or the customer journey. Really important. Those are the types of questions that you want to focus on.

But what do you want to listen for? As you're asking questions, what should you be listening for? While interviewing, you're listening for key details that can help you to retrace the person's buying journey. Or hear little phrases that they say that you can then use in your marketing. Things that help you better understand their thought process, what they're thinking, what's in their head. I'll give you an example here. And this was not done through client interviews, but it just as easily could have. But we worked with the client. They were a siding contractor. This was four or five years ago. And one of the things that we did as part of the initial process was we looked at their online reviews and we read through them. And there was a woman there that said, The thing that I loved about these guys was they treated my house like it was their own. Now, Most contractors immediately default to number one contractor in XYZ area or high quality materials. Look, that stuff is table stakes. People don't care about that. How can you prove that you're number one? There's so many different ways you can spend that. And anybody can be number one. They expect you to do high quality work. But what really makes you different? That's something that one of their Their client said that we could just pull out. That is gold. It's that stuff that you are looking for. The other thing that I think is really important to keep in mind as you're listening to what they say, if they say, Gosh, the thing I love about you is you have great customer service. Well, what does that mean? Because when you say something as generic and overarching as that, it's not going to mean anything to people. Dig deeper. Hey, that's awesome. What do you mean by that? What was great customer service to you? Can you think of something that happened that showed and they Did you feel like we provided great customer service? So dig below the surface. The surface level answers you get are just the beginning. Dig deeper to really get to the heart of the matter and hear things in their own words that are just going to be super valuable for you moving forward.

And then the last thing that we want to do here is we want to think about how you can action the interview findings that you receive. The important thing to think about here is practically everything that you learn from these interviews can be mapped directly to your marketing strategy in some way, shape, or form. Right? Better yet, you can use your customers' own words to improve your marketing messaging and make research back improvement to your overall customer experience. So you're going to gain marketing insights, just top overall marketing insights that you can use to throughout all your marketing activities, you're going to gain a ton of insights that you can use in your marketing message to help make your message resonate with people more and attract to the right types of people that you intend to work with. But there's information that you're going to glean from marketing, sales, customer service, things that you can use throughout your entire company when you go through this process. Most people never take the time to do this, ever. So if you take the time to do this, you will be head and shoulders above your competition.

Conclusion

But I hope these high-level steps have given you a little bit more concrete understanding of how this process typically works. But again, let me just run through these really quick. How to effectively interview ideal clients, you need to think about who you should talk to, how you can get people to commit to the interview. Once you have them on the interview, what questions should you avoid? And then what types of questions should you ask? What should you listen for while you're going through the interview process? And then once you've gathered the information, how you can make that actionable and use it to benefit your company.

So I hope you have found this helpful. This all has to do with target market and understanding your audience, which is one of the nine revenue roadblocks. We help clients remove so they can accelerate growth and get where they want to go faster. If you want to understand which of the nine roadblocks are slowing down your growth, you can do that over revenueroadblockscorecard.com. Takes less than five minutes. Super detailed report, tons of value there. So take advantage of it if that's something that sounds interesting to you. The other way that we can connect is at rialtomarketing.com. That's rialtomarketing.com. You can always head over there. There's tons of free resources there. You can also book a free discovery call there. If you want to jump on and have a chat, I would be happy to talk to you and help give you some insights, some outside eyes on where you might want to focus your efforts now based on where you are and where you want to get to. So hope you found this helpful. I appreciate you. Thank you. Until next time. Take care.


About the author, Tim Fitzpatrick

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