How To Turn Prospects Into Paying Customers (The Five Types Of People In Your Target Market)

How To Turn Prospects Into Paying Customers (The Five Types Of People In Your Target Market)

I once told a friend what I do for a living and how digital marketing works. This friend of mine, who owns and runs his own business, told me how he thinks it would be a big help for him personally because it was something he had been struggling with.

I told another friend, who also runs his own business, the same exact thing. He asked me if I was serious because he didn’t believe in the necessity of digital marketing.

I shared the same piece of information to two people who belonged to the group I was trying to reach. But they both reacted differently.

Surprising? Not really. Even though your business has a defined target market, not all of them will take a single marketing message the same way.

In this post, we break down your target market into five types of people and how to speak to each one.

More importantly, we’ll discuss how you can turn one type of customer into each of the other types and, eventually, turn them into a paying customer

Let’s start with the first one.

The Uninformed

In my opinion, the essence of businesses is to solve problems. For those who say that the essence of business is to earn money, I do not disagree. But I believe that the way to earn that money is to solve problems.

You probably already know what problem your business is solving. It’s what helps you define who your target market is. It’s the pain point we try to hit with our marketing messages.

But the thing to realize is that not everyone in your target market knows that the problem exists.

Some years ago, I took a look at running shoes to replace my old pair. What I was looking for were simple rubber shoes I could use to run.

I came across a store which offered to put me on a treadmill with a camera so they could analyze the way I run. They showed how my feet and the way I’ve been running could potentially damage my knees in the long run. So there’s a problem I never realized and I just learned about. More on that later.

For people like me in that instance who are not aware of the problem your business aims to solve, it would be very difficult for you to sell your products because your message will not connect. They would not understand what you’re talking about. Or they may think that your product is not good, which we know is not the case.

The key message to deliver to these people is to educate them about the problem. You can do this through content, a video or a blog post for example. At this stage, the keyword is to educate and not to sell. The moment your target market realizes that you are just selling, your credibility may go out the window, and we don’t want that.

Focus on providing value and education. This way, you start to build a good rapport and reputation with your target market, putting you in a better position to ask for a sale later on down the road.

Once you are able to educate your unaware prospect, you now turn him into the second type of person which is…

The Complainer

The second type of person in your target market is those who are already aware of (and are probably experiencing) the problem.

We all have those friends na laging may problema at reklamo. You have those in your target market as well.

These are the people who know what their problem is but they don’t know what the solution is. For a lot of these people, they may not even know that the solution exists.

Home TV shopping infomercials do this real well. If you notice, they always start with a question which speaks to their prospect’s frustrations:

  • Is your vacuum cleaner to heavy to move around the whole house?
  • Is your spare bed taking up too much storage space?
  • Has this happened to you? (Then you see a man cleaning his ear with a cotton bud suddenly screaming in pain because he apparently poked his ear buds.)

This is the way to reach out to these types of people in your target market. Talk to them by talking to their fears, frustrations or whatever they may be feeling about their problems.

Show them why their problems matter and how it affects them and their goals.

Is your business in the health and fitness niche? Talk to a person’s frustrations on personal weight loss and mention why it’s important to stay healthy.

Do you sell hypoallergenic baby clothes? Talk to a parent’s frustration on dealing with rashes and an irritated baby because of his or her clothes.

In EDSA, there’s a billboard from a ride-sharing app talking to users about “beating Manila traffic”. They speak to the frustrations drivers experience during traffic to encourage them to book a ride with the app instead.

Going back to the running shoe story, when they showed me the problem, my initial thought was, “Oh, well, that sucks,” thinking that it’s just the way I run. But instead of me just leaving with that thought in mind, the salespeople explained how potential injuries I may suffer can be avoided with the right type of running shoes.

And that’s what you should do too.

The next step is to present solutions to their problem.

Notice we said solutions. We didn’t say YOUR solution.

Again, the key is to educate and add value. The objective is not to hard sell your product. At least not yet.

The goal is to give the prospects hope that there is a solution to the problem they are experiencing. If you get to provide that spark of hope, then you, again, put yourself in a much better position to ask for a sale later on because you have not only shown your expertise but you have, ideally, actually helped that person out.

The idea is to turn that problem-aware prospect into a solution-aware person, and I’ve given away the third type person right there.

The Seeker

The third group of people in your target market are those who are not only aware of their problem but are also actively looking for the solution.

These people are the ones who search, read reviews, interact in forums, ask questions, etc.

These people look for solutions and evaluate the different options they have to solve their problems.

In my case with the shoes again, they explained to me the different types of shoes I can use to help with my running. I asked questions about each one (“May ibang color ba nito? Magkano ito? Ha? Bakit ang mahal? May discount ba ‘pag estudyante?”) And then I evaluated my options. If they had a particular pair of shoes they wanted me to buy, this would have been the time for them to do the selling.

In your case, this is when you should now put focus on your product. This is the point to focus on what you can offer the prospect.

The objective is to get the prospect to know you, your brand and your business. The main objective is not to make the sale immediately but if that happens naturally at this stage, then it’s a good thing.

I mean, how many times have you gone shopping in a mall and you visit a particular store for the very first time, and made a purchase in that instance? Not a lot, right?

The same applies to what we are talking about now.

Your messaging now is to introduce your solution to the seeker. From there, show them that you are someone who is an authority in the industry you are in. If they don’t buy, it’s okay. But if you make a good impression on them, chances are, they’ll return when they are more ready to buy.

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So try and stand out, put your best foot forward, but do not be too pushy. Think about it as meeting someone for the first time. Most of us don’t like that person who already tries to sell us something at a first meeting.

Make a good impression and develop that relationship to turn them into the:

The Listener

The fourth type of the people in your target market are those who are already aware of your business and your solution but have yet to make the purchase.

These people believe in what you can offer, respect you as an authority in your industry, but they haven’t bought yet.

These are the people who frequent your store, your site or your social media page, but have not yet made the initial transaction. They are usually “just looking around”.

Why haven’t they bought yet at this point?

That’s a good question.

A very possible reason is because they still cannot see the value of the purchase. This is normal. In my case with the shoes, I may ask all the questions I have but none of the answers will ultimately help me figure out if the shoes are right for me. So what was I to do at that point?

I tried them on.

The salespeople made sure they had the right size. I looked at the mirror to see how they fit. They encouraged me to walk with them. I ran with them on the treadmill again.

At this stage, the objective is to focus on the benefits of your product and to show the prospect how helpful it would be for them. The best way for this to happen is to have them test or try out your product.

This varies for different types of business. For software and services, this could be a free trial. For apparel, this could be in the form of fitting. At the very least, the users should be able to try out the product or service for themselves. In m personal opinion, if they could do this for free, that would be best.

If you’re dealing with someone who belongs to the first type of person in your target market and followed all the steps to convert them into the fourth type of person, and still they don’t buy, they probably now belong to the last type which is:

The Abangers

(In case there are non-Filipino speaking readers, to “abang” means to wait.)

Most of the time, I am a loud and proud abanger. I think a lot of us are. So it’s safe to assume a chunk of the people in your target market are too.

These are the people who are convinced of you and your product already, but are just waiting for a good opportunity to buy.

How many times have you gone into a store, found something you want to buy and quietly say to yourself: “I’ll come back when there’s a sale”.

There’s this one buffet restaurant which serves boneless lechon which I really really like but I don’t want to go there on just any day. I go there on my birthday when I can get a free meal as long as I bring someone with me.

For these people, what could urge them to make the first purchase is just an incentive for them to do so.

It may be in a form of a discount or some other valuable offer. It can be a guarantee like a no-questions-asked refund if the product does not meet their expectations.

Going back to the example of Home TV Infomercials, they do this by giving the but-wait-there’s-more-if-you-call-now offer.

What offer can you provide to get that person to make that initial purchase from you and start the buyer-seller relationship?


To recap, there are five types of people in your target market. This means that there are different ways to communicate with them. Here’s a table you can refer back to:

Some reminders before you implement this for your business:

  • During this whole article, we never referred to the people in your target market as customers. This is because this whole process is about reaching out to those people who are in your target market but have not yet made a purchase. Once they turn into a paying customer, the relationship changes and the messaging or communication changes as well.
  • You probably already have your defined target market. But do take note that not all of them are necessarily at the first type of person. Even if you’re just starting, your target market may already have people falling into each type we discussed.
  • If majority of your target market belong to the first or second type, remember that converting them into the other types of people doesn’t have to take long. Going again with the Home TV shopping infomercials, they are usually able to move viewers through each of the five types in a matter of minutes. They discuss the problem, they discuss the frustrations, they offer the solutions, they introduce their brand and their expert guest or endorser, they elaborate on their specific solutions and they ask for the sale. You can do it too.

Making your messaging specific to the current awareness level and current needs of your prospects can always put you in a much better position to convert them into a paying customer.

So go ahead and try to distinguish the segmentation of your target market. From there, craft your offers and marketing messages for each of them.

Meet them where they are in the customer journey. You will find that it will be effective for your marketing efforts.

Enjoying what you’re reading?

I share a lot of these posts and new ideas and sharings on Facebook ads, marketing and entrepreneurship to my e-mail newsletter. You can get awesome tips like this delivered to your inbox too!

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