3 Things Buyer Personas and First Dates Have in Common
Have you ever been set up on a blind date? It’s a complete gamble. You could get the love of your life, or you could net some dopey sloth with ugly hair who talks about Pokemon the whole time. It’s hard to tell until you do it – and you can’t judge your date before they open their mouth. (Unless they have too much perfume on.) Let’s say you meet up with a guy – really handsome, tall and buff. But as soon as he starts talking, he just can’t stop talking about himself. Or, let’s say you meet up with a dude in jean shorts, socks and sandals rocking a Mötley Crüe shirt with a pizza stain – but he’s the warmest, most affectionate and friendly guy you’ve ever met. When you’re out for a blind date, you’re marketing yourself on the outside, as well in what you say and do. And if you’re not selling your whole self, you’re not doing it right. On the same note, if you’re basing your company’s whole inbound marketing effort off who you think your customers are, you’re not doing it right. Building solid buyer personas that accurately reflect who your ideal customers are is the foundation of inbound marketing strategy. Building buyer personas and going on a first date have a lot in common. Here’s why:
You Have to Ask a Lot of Questions
Seriously. Like, a lot. When you’re sitting across a table with someone, you have to ask questions to find out more about them – where they went to school, who their favorite author is and what brand of toothpaste they prefer. (If all else fails, just keep asking questions during a bad date until you finish dinner and can get the heck out of there.) And, when you’re conducting a buyer persona interview, you have to ask a lot of questions to get to the bottom of what makes them tick, and what makes them buy your product. Start with the demographic questions, then move into the details: feelings, motivations, personal life and so on.
It Might Feel a Little Awkward
Everyone likes their comfort zone. For some people, that’s a glass of wine on the couch, a bowl of Cheez-Its and a new episode of Dateline. For others, it’s hanging out with friends at a local dive bar. For absolutely no one, it’s a first date. First dates are always awkward. And when you’re figuring out a buyer persona, it’s a little awkward too. Not only are you digging deep into the psyche of your actual customers with data collected from them, you’re shining a light on the darkest corners of your sales process. And if you find out that you’ve been marketing to the wrong customers for years, that might feel a little weird.
Honesty Comes First
When you’re on a date, you can’t misrepresent yourself. If you claim to be a world-class karate expert, and then your date finds out you’re just some chump in American flag pants, you’re going to have a bad time. Building a buyer persona requires perfect honesty, and that means throwing away any preconceived notions of who your customers are ahead of time. And when you’re collecting information about your customers, don’t eschew any information just because you think it doesn’t fit – that could come back to bite you.