WHO is on First?

You might be thinking “who is on first and what is on second?” if you’ve had any exposure to the old Abbott and Costello joke.  What I’m actually referring to though is the first thing that should be done in business; finding the WHO that is your client and defining them as descriptively as possible.  To get to second base you do want to find your “What” which is defining your unique offering.

Back in 2007 at the Fortune Growth Summit in Las Vegas, I had the pleasure of meeting and getting to know Robert Bloom (engaging in conversation around Italian food and his love of the country).  Bob is the former CEO of advertising giant Publicis Worldwide. He also wrote a very influential book in the business world titled The Inside Advantage.  Why so influential?  Because it gives you a process to discover WHO your client really is and HOW you are going to sell them WHAT it is that you have to offer them.

This blog I want to focus on the WHO.  A few months after hearing Bob speak and reading his book, I called him up.  I shared that we were going to go through the process of finding our Inside Advantage at our upcoming annual retreat, and Bob so graciously gave us some pointers and even engaged in a call with my team at our retreat to help us through a few stucks.

Your WHO, as defined by Bob, is the core customer most likely to buy your product or service in the quantity required for optimal profit.  Finding the right WHO is important because, as Bob says, “The easiest and most profitable growth will be achieved by adding additional customers very much like your current most valuable customer.”

So how do you find your WHO?  It is a process, and going through it will generate a lot of awareness about your business.  How we did it was by gathering our entire team and brainstorming what our most valuable clients look and feel like.  This is not a demographic exercise…you have to be more specific and know by sitting across the table from that person how they would think and feel about what you have to offer.  With everyone contributing their (brilliant) ideas, we started with a few words and ended with a plethora of words that describe our potential client.

Afterwards we threw out the duplicates and honed in on the top 10 to 15 words that were the truest representation of our core client.  There was a lot of intense debate, but finally we narrowed it down.

Our core customer is:  A technical business leader who has an intense need for a reliable solution (software) delivery partner.

What is your core customer? If you don’t know, Bob’s book is a great place to start helping you find out. 


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