The 3 Product Seller Profiles and how they Influence your Ideal Customer Avatar | Episode 163

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the 3 product seller profiles and how they influence your ideal customer avatar

 

Does it ever feel like no one else struggles quite as much as you do to identify or define their ideal customer avatar? There’s a reason for that… 

What if I told you that the key to finding your ideal customer avatar is your product seller profile?

Let me explain.

In the past 11 years, I’ve done plenty of my own ideal customer avatar build-outs and I’ve assisted many makes with theirs, too!

There is a lot of experience from those 11 years or so that has influenced today’s episode. I’ve recently started to think about finally articulating my theory about how the way you become the seller of original products impacts the way you find your ideal customer. AND here we are, the time has come. Welcome to today’s episode where I will articulate that theory.

This is my theory about how the way that you become a seller of original products impacts how you determine who your ideal customer is. 

I think there are 3 ways you can become a seller of original products and i’m going to cover each one and provide insight into the ideal customer discovery for each

There are three primary ways I believe people become sellers of original products:

The Shark Tank way
The natural-born entrepreneur way
The maker way

There are probably others but they likely would fit into any of those ultimately and for the purpose of the lesson, these three provide enough context. And as you’ll see there can be overlap between these.

 

Profile one: The Shark Tank Developer

If you are familiar with the show Shark Tank you know that the premise of this show is people come on and pitch the shark investors on their product or concept in the hopes of getting investment and partner for their brand.

Almost every product i’ve ever seen pitched on shark tank come about because the developer or someone close to them experienced something – some problem or drama – and they created a solution to that problem. 

From there, they realized, hey this is great for other people with that problem or who might ever be in a situation where they are likely to encounter this problem would love this product, too. 

And that is inherently their ideal customer. Many times the ideal customer for those Shark Tank products is the developer themselves or the person close to them who had the problem that they solved.

Shark Tank people are energized and activated to action by problem-solving FIRST.

Their ideal customer is a simple direct line back to the problem they ended up solving: people who have or would be in a situation where that problem would occur.

EASY. It’s much easier for them to know the ideal client because they either ARE the ideal customer or have access to that person.

 

Profile two: Natural Born Entrepreneurs

Next, we have natural-born entrepreneurs. Many of the people on Shark Tank are likely also natural-born entrepreneurs in some way. If they weren’t, their solutions would stay personal. You have to have some NBE energy in you somewhere to go as far as being on Shark Tank. But it was problem-solving that lit them up and activated them, to begin with.

And a lot of times if you watch the show you can really tell the person is MOST interested in the solution – they are passionate about the solution more than the business. Just something interesting I’ve noticed.

NBEs are energized by opportunities. Those opportunities don’t need to be relevant to their personal problems, though they might be, nor do they hinge on artistry or craftwork or creativity, though they could! 

Many shark tank people or makers do probably have natural entrepreneur tendencies, but it’s something else that activates them first. NBEs first see opportunities and feel lit up over the possibilities FIRST.

I consider myself a natural-born entrepreneur FIRST and of course maker as well but I am passionate about finding holes and filling them. 

For example: in the town m parents live in there is no bagel store. VERY unusual for long island. Do I know anything about bagels other than that they are delicious? Do I know anything about operating a restaurant? NO. Did I still try to convince my dad to open a bagel shop, scout out perfect locations for it, and wonder endlessly about how to make a bagel shop in their town successful? YES. 

Now being 17, I didn’t really have the resources or time to establish this store but the point is, as a NBE, the IDEAS are what get me going – obviously solving my own problem of not having easy access to bagels is a side benefit but the opportunity is what motivates me more than the problem-solving.  The opportunity is what I was passionate about, not so much the end result of bagels in town. 

That is not the case for most makers who are activated by artistry first. Makers tend to feel most passionate about the end result of creation: a beautiful painting that captures a meaning or likeness, a new jewelry design realized…

That’s why I think I was okay with making 14 thousand of the same necklace over and over – it wasn’t so much about the artistry or creation of new things for me. I love the process of making and the opportunity that making that product provided me with. Selling that one product was fine with me. Many makers feel energized first by creation and new creations and artistry more than selling. So it’s a mix but where the energy STARTS is important.

NBEs are energized and activated to action by opportunities FIRST. Their ideal customer is people who wish they had access to the thing the NBE saw the opportunity to create. So also a fairly straightforward answer for them in terms of an ideal customer.

 

Profile 3: The Maker

Makers are energized and activated to action by craft and art and creativity FIRST. Their ideal customer is much harder to identify because makers do not set out to solve problems, they set out to make art and be creative. They START from a place of creativity.

Makers who want to sell their work must dabble in entrepreneurship and have to experience entrepreneurship but not all makes are NBEs. THAT IS FINE.

NBE are not the only people who can be entrepreneurs or run businesses!

So because makers start from a place of creativity and art and craft, it’s a little less obvious WHO their ideal customer is. Both of the other profiles we covered here have roots in SOLUTION. Makers are MAKING FOR THE LOVE OF MAKING and bringing products to market because they love to make them.

And that is The other very unique thing about makers is they want to sell the product they love to make! They don’t want to find a hole and fill it like NBEs do, so the ideal customer needs to be for the product that already exists, not a variant, not for the tangentially related product that someone on Instagram said is a better idea to create: the product they already love to make.

Let’s say you are a jewelry designer who starts making jewelry that you love but maybe wouldn’t even personally wear, but you just love the process of making and designing and then your friends and family are like omg you could sell these (which happens ALL THE TIME) and you’re like wow yeah I can, so you set about getting more info on that and one of the FIRST things you encounter is messaging about your ideal customer.

I’m convinced many people either review that and think HECK NO because the exercise isn’t designed for their kind of product, or they ignore it thinking it’s not that big of a deal. let s be clear: it IS a big deal which is part of why you never stop hearing about it AND the exercise you follow to find that person DOES matter, especially when the line back isnt as direct like it is for the shark tank or NBE people.

I think most exercises are developed for people who already DO KNOW their ideal customer, and those exercises just help to define it or articulate it better, they don’t necessarily lead them back to an answer.

But makers NEED that answer because there is no earlier indication of who the ideal customer is.

So when you get to being a seller of original products the maker way: you need an ideal customer exercise that helps you IDENTIFY the avatar not just define it better. 

And that’s why most of the ideal customer exercises you’d encountered do not work: they weren’t made for people like you and they weren’t made for FINDING a customer profile at all but for defining it, making what you already know clearer.

If you are MAKER first activated by creativity and craft and artistry FIRST, you need a different approach to finding your ideal customer. So if you have felt frustrated by the exercises you’ve done, know that this doesn’t mean all hope is lost – it just means you need a different approach.

 

We do teach an ideal customer match class as a bonus inside of our Training Course for Etsy Sellers and in that class, we use a process of working backward to find the answer to the question: who is the ideal customer for this product. We go through a series of layers, piece by piece, backwards from the product that already exists that you already love to make and sell, to uncover who the ideal customer for the product is. 

A big part of making that exercise useful and meaningful is shifting the mindset around problems.

We have a whole episode about what problems products solve that I highly encourage you to check out! 

You have to expand your definition and understanding of a problem before you can understand how your product solves one. And your product does solve a problem and almost all marketing of products boils down to reaching people who seek solutions. And of course, marketing is a big part of running a successful business.

Everything comes back to the ideal customer and problem solving. HOW you start out changes the entire trajectory of how you get to the answer about the ideal customer and so I thought it was really important to articulate that to you here today. 

We can cover HOW to find your ideal customer in that ideal customer match class but really today I wanted to focus on WHY it’s hard and understanding the starting point to give context to the endpoint.

And let’s be clear there is no better or worse way to become a product seller – 

Shark Tank people being activated by problems close to them a little better able to focus on that one thing, whereas NBEs see opportunity everywhere (even sometimes when it isn’t actually there, ha), and certainly creative people tend to ‘stay in motion’ always making and creating. None of this is better or worse its just different. And hopefully understanding these three profiles helps you better understand YOURSELF and your own product and customer avatar.

 

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Oh, hi! Welcome to The Merriweather Council. I’m Danielle and I am a maker in business and mentor to other makers in business. I teach you how to turn your crafty tendencies into profits!

Oh, I’m also really into crafts, boy bands + iced coffee. Email me anytime to say hello or send cute Backstreet Boy videos or dog pictures .. or whatever! danielle (at) merriweathercouncil.com Thanks for stopping by.

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