Knowing Your Market – With All the Bad Stuff in the News, When is Profiling a Good Thing?

Flashing blue lights and a terrified African-American kid in the street, frustrated olive-skinned college students pulled aside at the airport to be frisked like criminals, an anxious Hispanic truck driver pulled over to check his loads for drugs-the very word profiling brings up images like these and we feel badly for them. That African-American kid could be carrying bread home for his mom, the students could be flying home because of a death in the family, and the Hispanic trucker could be the father of six children who’s working 100 hours a week trying to send his oldest son to college. This kind of profiling brings a knot to our stomachs.

It’s unfair, and we resist it.

So, when is profiling a good thing? Well, medical profiling saves lives every day. Your own medical history along with your extended family, your file with all your test results and doctor’s comments make up your profile. This information waits in central data storage so your doctor can access your profile in seconds from an Emergency Room where every second counts.

On the job, profiling is another name for screening. Financial planners profile their clients to learn whether they are risk takers or risk averse, so the financial plan will feel right to the investor. Psychologists give entry assessments to their clients to give the best treatment possible for their patient’s needs.

The criminal justice system also uses profiling when tracking down serial criminals-murderers, arsonists, and sexual predators. Technicians who master type of profiling, have intensive scientific training in the thought processes of their subjects, then they use their innate intuitive skills to process the data and come out with a solution-a personality profile of the subject. This type of profiling is so exact that the profiler can predict with accuracy the make and model of the subject’s car, including the color.

Taking this into the marketing world, prospect profiling is also a scientific process mingled with intuitive skill. The prospect profiler takes the numbers from a scientific assessment tool and creates the personality profile of your perfect prospect including frustrations, pain, goals, and value system. Once you know these critical aspects of your prospect’s needs, you can speak in terms of those needs.

For example, if your prospect is an exhausted caregiver, then you’ll need to mention how your product or service reduces stress and makes hard tasks easier. If your prospect is a fun-loving free spirit, you’ll want to talk about how your service will let them spend more time surfing or skydiving. No matter what your product or service actually is, tapping into the root cause of your prospect’s pain will open doors for you and have your perfect prospect lining up with their credit cards in hand to gain access to your solution for them.

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