When it comes to understanding your customers, the more the better. These questions will help you know the right things to ask so you can get a better idea of who your customers are so you can better serve them.
The single most important thing you can do in business is learn more about your customers. They are the people who pay for you to do what you do, and if your focus isn't on serving them than you're headed down the wrong path. In order to best serve your customers you must first understand who they are, what they want, what they fear, what they are trying to achieve.
Admittedly, it's difficult to know exactly what you should ask in order to better understand who you are working with, which is why I put together this list with the most important customer profile questions, check it out.
What's your ideal social environment?
I am purposely starting off with a question that isn't what you'd expect to make a point. The point is that customer profile questions are NOT "How much money do you make?" and "What do you want to spend money on?"
Those aren't good questions because they don't actually tell you anything about the customer - even if you know how much money someone makes you don't know what their priorities are, or what they care about, or what their goals are, which are the reasons they will spend their money.
What you want to do instead is learn about what makes someone "tick" what motivates them, what they enjoy, how they operate. If you know those things then everything else becomes way easier since you can talk to people like the humans that they are instead of the numbers that you are thinking about as what makes up a "customer profile."
Therefore, the first question on my list is "What's your ideal social environment?" because I believe the answer to this question determines a lot of things when it comes to sales and marketing to a new client. Think about it, someone who is more likely to enjoy spending time alone probably wants to do independent research about your product before purchasing whereas someone who always wants to be around people would be more likely to want a phone call or in-person meeting to discuss.
Those are super different approaches and if you get the wrong one it could mean wasting a ton of time and annoying your prospective customers by using the wrong methods that are contrary to what they want.
When I get to work in the morning, the first question I ask myself is:
The morning is when the most important work tends to get put first, whether we're aware of that or not. What I mean is that you tend to think about whatever is most important to you first thing in the morning.
One of the most important lessons I ever learned in business is that people probably don't care at all about what your product or service does, they are most likely using it to achieve some other goal that is much more important than the particular problem your product solves.
For example, if you sell a sales productivity tool, people probably don't just buy it to make their sales more productive, although that is the immediate benefit. Your customers most likely make the purchase so they can be better at their job, so they can support their family, or travel more, or achieve success, or something else.
If you know the underlying motivation you can have a much more connected conversation rather than just talking about the immediate benefits of some product or service.
People often describe you as:
Self-concept is something that everyone spends a ton of time thinking about. We all care what other people think.
Here's a crazy idea. What if people purchased your product or service more because of how it would make other people think of them rather than how it actually benefits themselves?
This might not be true all the time, in fact it almost certainly isn't, but it's important to know what drives people. If they are internally motivated or externally motivated, if they are trying to connect with people or are most passionate about ideas.
If you know these things then you can have a conversation revolving around what the customer is interested in or cares about rather than what you think they care about or are trying to achieve.
Other people would describe me as:
Again with the self-concept. On average we massively under-estimate the value of self-concept as it connects to why people buy things.
We make purchases that affirm our ideas of ourselves and to form ourselves into the ideal version of who we hope to be.
With that understanding in mind there is a very different approach you can take to making sales, where you help people reach what they aspire to rather than what you want.
What do you find yourself spending money on?
I know I said we weren't going to talk about overly-obvious things like money and salaries, but just to show how you can ask about those things this question is included.
Instead of directly asking how much money someone makes, this question asks what you find yourself spending money on, a much more in-tune question that is more of a personality profile question rather than a direct customer information question.
Which best represents your personality?
Think about two types of calls with a potential customer.
1. Where you don't know anything about them and are just reading off a script essentially, hoping something you say will "land" and inspire them to want to work with you.
2. Where you do know a lot about the person's personality and what type of person you are and can tailor everything you say to revolve around who they are as a person, you can ask them questions you know they'll want to answer and inspire a riveting conversation.
Which do you think will result in a meaningful connection that leads to working together?
Scenario 1 is not only a shot in the dark but could also be taken as insulting if the other person feels like you don't care about them, go with option 2 and understand who you're talking to.
When do you feel most content?
This is a question about what someone really wants in life. If they answer "Being outside" then you know they're working, getting better at what they do, or what they are doing outside of work, so they can spend more time outside.
On the other hand, if they answer "When I'm relaxed" then you know their goal is relaxation and comfort, feeling at peace.
Depending on how someone answers this question you can really start to know what they're after in life, not just with your product, and if you can talk about how your product fits into their overall life picture instead of just how it works in the short-term then you have a way more compelling pitch.
What is your aspiration in life?
People have different goals. It's natural to think everyone has the same ones that you do, but that's definitely not the case.
If you are aspiring to be rich and successful, someone else might aspire to be carefree and unburdened by life.
Knowing where someone is coming from completely changes how you position your product or service.
If the person is trying to be rich, explain how the product helps them make money. If someone is trying to be carefree, explain how the product saves them time so they don't have to work as much.
What's your worst fear?
It's not the best thing, but people are often driven by fear. Fear of being a failure, fear of letting people down, fear of looking dumb.
If you self-exam you'll probably realize that many of your own actions are driven out of a fear, either a fear of getting something or not getting something.
If you want to be really helpful to your customers help them avoid having to realize their fears.