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Find Your Ideal Customer

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Start Here: Identify Your Target Customer  

“It’s about finding out initially who your target audience is and who you want to work with and then designing yourself to appeal to that customer,” Symmes says. 

Symmes knows exactly who his ideal customer is, and it helps to be married to her. 

Symmes didn’t always target such a specific demographic. Like many, he was a technician turned shop owner and, although he knew cars, he was unfamiliar with the business side. Symmes met Cecil Bullard, CEO of the Institute for Automotive Business Excellence, and while sitting in on one of his training sessions, he had a lightbulb moment where he realized he needed to start thinking like a business owner, and part of that was the way he approached targeting customers. 

Rethink your approach.

Stop targeting the masses. Take a more purposeful approach to find the right fit for your shop. In 2017, Symmes started doing this and now has a very specific approach to the way he targets his customers and because of that, he’s been able to cut his marketing budget back from an average of 12 percent to 8 percent last year because the right customers were coming in and spreading the word themselves, saving him money through beneficial referrals. 

Visualize your ideal customer.

When Flizen speaks about target marketing, she has attendees close their eyes. She then asks them a series of questions to help zero in on their customer. She asks questions like:

  •     Is this person male or female? 
  •     What’s this person’s family life like?
  •     Does this person have kids?
  •     How old is this person? 
  •     What’s this person’s income level?
  •     What is his or her job?
  •     What kind of car does this person drive? 

Then, she asks the audience to get a real picture of this ideal customer in their head. “Can you see this person?” she asks. Then, she has the audience open their eyes and she asks, “Is it me?” which always gets a laugh, she says, but it’s true. The majority of shops she works with target someone very similar to her demographic—a professional woman in her 40s.  

Kaplan is an example of this. His target customer is the same for all of his locations: a female age 30-45 within 3-5 miles of his location and a household income of roughly $80,000. Symmes’ customer avatar is also very similar, but it’s important to find who the best fit is for your shop. Luckily, the key to figuring out who your ideal customer is already right in front of you. 

Utilize your data.

Both Kaplan and Symmes looked through their customer database to find customers that were spending the most and coming in the most often. Then, they figured out similarities that those customers had and by doing that, were able to hone in on who their ideal customer was. 

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