Who is your ideal client in your new target market?
You might be thinking that your ideal international client is more or less the same person as your ideal client as your ideal client in the home market, just located in another country, but it isn’t as straightforward as that.
If you run a successful business domestically, it’s highly likely that you know your ideal domestic clients inside out. You understand what makes them tick, what they struggle with and how to satisfy their needs and wants – that’s one of the reasons your company has thrived. But when it comes to doing business internationally, the deep understanding that you have acquired about your clients at home through years of client contact does not exist in the new market. You don’t know your new international clients yet, and they don’t know you.
What’s more, it’s not just a lack of familiarity and established relationships that can be problematic. Clients in different countries can and do behave differently. Different societies can be visibly different in terms of level of prosperity, language, diet, dress, ethnicity and religion. There will be invisible cultural gaps too. Culture can create stark differences in consumer spending habits, attitudes towards youth, respect for privacy and preference for tradition, to mention a few.
To give yourself the best chance at successfully attracting, engaging and impressing clients in your new target country, it’s important that you get to know as much as you can about the people you want to serve, before you get too far advanced with your plans.
Don’t assume that you know what people want. Building up a client profile on the basis of guesswork is a recipe for disaster, because it’s unlikely to reflect the client’s real desires, goals, challenges and cultural preferences. Although it’s time-consuming, it’s worth making the effort to do your homework. Research your future international clients through secondary sources (market reports, media, social media), talk to potential clients in the target country, speak to associates who understand the market, visit the country yourself and spend time talking to and observing people.
Understanding the people you hope to sell to will give you the best shot at doing so.