Peter Whent

November 7, 2022

Photo by Marcel Biegger

Know your date

My first date with Emma went like this.

We went to a Russian steak house in Camden. One of those places that serves juicy twenty ounce slabs of rib-eye, so big you can’t see your plate.

Turns out she was vegan. There was no second date.

Just like our client Ellie the eco-warrior who was trying to flog a carbon calculator to Frank from Fareham who wants to bring back national service and thinks climate change is just a bit of odd weather.

Why am I telling you this?

Neither Ellie nor I knew our prospect well enough to have any chance of success.

I’m shuffling nervously out on a limb now, but I’m going to say it.

None of us really knows our prospects well. We make do with a sketchy list of demographics; something like:

Jim is 34, married with two kids, drives a volvo and earns fifty grand a year.

There’s a very simple problem with that collection of facts. Jim is not real. He’s not the result of great research, he is a product of some top level guess work.

Don't trust anyone who calls themselves a guru

And because Jim is a figment of the imagination of some branding agency “guru” who swans around self-confidently clutching a pretentious Starbucks brew, his persona doesn’t answer any of the really important questions like:

  • What does Jim’s day look like?

  • How does he work, what’s his biggest problem and how can we help him?

  • How does he like to communicate?

Instead our guru rattles off a guestimate of Jim and hopes Lady Luck steps in and does the rest.

But she doesn’t and you end up in No Man’s Land, and there’s no customers in No Man’s Land. Just phones that sound like they’re on Do Not Disturb and Monzo accounts emptying like a leaky bucket.

When I imagine what “knowing our prospect well” looks like, I have a picture in my mind of something as dreamy as this.

Having this granular understanding of your best buyer persona will change your relationship with your prospects and your bank manager.

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How do you get to know them that well? Simple.

You have to go and talk to real people and ask questions. You have to listen in to their world on social media, and you have to look at whatever data is available.

This stuff really matters because when you know your best potential buyer in that detail, life changes. You can talk to them in the places they hang out, using the words they respond to. You’re able to communicate  in exactly the language that makes them go all weak at the knees and reach for their cheque book. 

Having this granular level of insight will change your relationship with your prospects and your bank manager.

It’s not easy and it’s not quick, but if you do it properly it catapults you into a new world of communication. And if you don’t have the time or skills to do it properly, then we know someone who can.

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