Recently I visited a high-end restaurant in downtown Indianapolis to meet a colleague for lunch. What the hostess said to me when I arrived was rather surprising.
Without naming names, I will tell you that the person I was planning to dine with happens to have the same first name as an extremely well-known political figure. The establishment is only a few blocks from the statehouse. When I arrived, the maître d asked me who I was meeting. I responded.
She looked down her list and read the last name that she thought might correspond with the first one I said aloud. It was the well-known political figure, except, she butchered the famous name.
I happened to sit near the front of the establishment and could overhear more of her interactions. When the celebrity arrived, she didn’t recognize him. The young woman asked cheerfully, “Do you have a reservation?”
Knowing Your Audience Increases Your Business
It might seem obvious, but the more you know about your target audience, the more likely you are to be able to win new business and especially recurring business. If your high-end restaurant is right around the corner from the state capitol building, maybe you should ensure that your front-of-the-house staff know the names and faces of all of the high-ranking individuals in state government?
Likewise, no matter what industry you are in, there’s always an opportunity to learn more about the people that you’d like to do business with. Here are some techniques that are particularly effective:
Read their industry publications – The next time you are in their office, make note of the magazines in the lobby. Subscribe yourself, and keep up to speed on what’s happening in their world. You might even find their name mentioned in an a guest article or an advertisement, which is a reason to reach out and say you saw them!
Attend events where they are – If you want to learn more about your customers and prospects, figure out what programs they might be attending. Ask them if they are going to any educational seminars or networking mixers. Join the same organizations they belong to. Show up where you think they might show up.
Watch them on social media—and take notes! – When they go to a concert, support their favorite sports team, or mention other personal interests, people will often share them on Facebook or Twitter. Pay attention! Take notes! Figure out what they like so you can respond later.
Find out who they know, and seek advice – Social media makes this easy today, but usually if you know someone, you also know people in common. “You and I both know Bob Smith, but I was wondering, what would be a good gift for him? What are his hobbies and interests?”
Search for them online – Use Google. It might seem a little weird to put the names of people you want to know more about into a search engine, but this has become part of our culture. If you want to find out more about them on an ongoing basis, consider a Google alert!
Use CRM software and take notes about your meetings – Finally, you want to ensure that you are putting all of this information into a useful place. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software is a fantastic way to do this, allowing you to save pertinent details from meetings, phone calls, or other interactions.
Next time you’re out to eat, keep an eye out for local celebrities. Maybe the restaurant will have taken time to know who they are and welcome them accordingly.
Or just see if they are taking care of their regulars. It’s this audience where there’s the most opportunity. Learning about them is among the best ways to grow your business.