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Understanding customers to build relationships and communicate effectively

Peter is a business founder and manufacturing consultant. He recognised the need to focus on a clear niche but was struggling to identify his ideal clients and their problems. Like many consultants, he wants to build relationships, understand how his clients think and feel, and communicate with the right people. I suggested he use empathy mapping.

Peter prefers to try something for himself and then get feedback. So, I gave him an empathy map template and a few instructions. A few weeks later, he had seven maps and felt overwhelmed.

Talking through his maps, it was clear Peter had fallen into the trap of too much detail. Instead, I suggested he look for the common traits that reveal the problems of his clients and help him tailor his offer. We quickly identified he only needed two personas.

Peter uses his empathy maps in four ways:

  1. Marketing – Peter’s marketing now talks about the problems he solves rather than his services.
  2. Targeting different organisations and layers within organisations – Peter better understands what different clients need and can target his prospecting.
  3. Service definition – Peter designed his services around his personas to drive more enquiries from the people he wants to work with.
  4. An emerging benefit – Peter recognised that many smaller manufacturers struggle to support their employees. He now talks confidently about this problem and how he can help.

Getting to know Bernadette and Colin

As a result, Peter feels close to his client personas – Bernadette and Colin – and really wants to support them in their businesses. And has the understanding and tools to do so.

Empathy map Bernadette
Empathy map Colin

Next steps for Peter

I am now supporting Peter through a customer eyes review of his new website and mentoring him in his prospecting activities.

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