You can have three types of customers:
Whether approaching consumers or other companies, knowledge of the customer is important. Often, it is easier to obtain information about corporate customers than consumers. Corporate customers are easier to define.
In order to structure your collecting information on potential customers you can make a distinction between:
Most likely, retrieving information on customers from home takes place at a desk. You have access to a PC, internet, phone, directories, newspapers and other sources of information.
By a systematic utilisation of the internet you can find most of the information
you need to gain an impression of your customers. Practically all companies have
a website packed with information about themselves. If you are still short of
information you can call the company and request brochures.
Retrieving consumer information is slightly harder, but some business school´s websites may offer consumption pattern analyses. Trade associations may also hold data useful to your company.
Not all information is accessible from your desk. Usually you will have to supplement the information by field research. Most companies, new and old, will get invaluable information about their customers by asking a few simple questions.
It does not take a fancy detailed questionnaire study. All you need to do is select 5 to 10 companies or consumers potentially interested in your product.
Prepare 5-10 questions identifying your problem and frankly tell the interviewee
why you are asking the questions. You will normally be met with great
It can be an odd feeling asking chance passers-by for help, but it really is worth the embarrassment because it makes it a whole lot easier to run your business afterwards.
Your consequential level of customer knowledge increases considerably.
You will gain so
much information about your potential customer if you talk to five of them. It
can make a world of difference.
Do you have the nerve to go and talk to the potential customer?
All that you need to become an entrepreneur and change the world is a working brain – and pretty much nothing else.
– Adora Svitak, amerikansk forfatter