Stop Putting a Dress on the Pig
There’s kind of a catch-22 when small business owners (SBOs) are put through the conventional business development processes. Do you know what it is? Or, at least what is one of the biggest ones?
SBOs are constantly being interrogated about the identity of their target market. In fact, when networking, you hear that question repeatedly.
It is a legitimate question. The fact is that the better you know your target market, the more successful your business will probably be.
But the catch? You have to know exactly what you offer before you can identify your target prospects. And not all SBOs actually know that. Talk to your SBO colleagues and you’ll find that the specifics of what they offer is often a vague laundry list. In order to find that ideal customer, you have to know what you offer and it can’t be everything in the world to whomever will buy it.
So the first step in identifying your target market is determining exactly what it is you offer.
Now, here I am talking about the primary focus of your business. There are lots of things you can probably do. There are lots of services you can offer as offshoots of what it is that is your primary product or service, but making them part of your focus makes them distractions, not upsells. And that dilutes your focus.
It is the primary product or service that is the offer for which you need to find the ideal market. Focus on that.
Now that you know your primary offer, you need to personify the ideal client to buy it. Harvey Mackay explains the use of the Mackay 66 in his book, Swim with the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive. Every salesperson has to have a file with the answers to 66 questions about each and every one of their customers. That’s how they get to know them – and it helps identify the ideal prospect.
Several points you will want to know about your ideal client include details such as:
- Who are they? Age? Gender? Marital status?
- Where do they live? City? Suburb? Rural? House? Apartment?
- What do they do in their free time? Eat out? Craft? Garden? Exercise?
- What are their personal interests? Reading? History? Music? Sports?
- Where do they gather? Children’s sports? Church? Athletics or gym? Music or social events and festivals?
From all this data you can home in on your ideal client and target market. So this catch-22 is resolved. Great! But I want to take you one step further.
You know the target, but does a prospect fit your customer profile? In other words, is this prospect right for YOU?
Well, okay, here we go again. Another speed bump to customers.
It’s not all that bad because you have what you need to figure this out pretty quickly. Think of it this way, when you go into a store and talk with a salesperson (experienced professional) they start asking you lots of questions to figure out what you want and what they have to meet your needs. In the book, Ask by Ryan Levesque, he illustrates this point with the story of a man who is shopping for a purse for his wife. The salesperson starts asking all sorts of questions:
- Are you looking for a special event clutch, a daily bag or more of a tote?
- What kind of a bag does she have now?
- How does she use it? As a catch-all for children’s accoutrements or for just a few things like wallet and phone?
- Etc,. etc., etc.
What the salesperson is doing is taking a survey.
Based on your experience, you can create a survey filled with questions that can filter and sort the prospects you meet so you know which ones are truly your sales targets.
Does all of this take time and effort? Of course it does. And, it may take an objective eye to help you through the process (which is what I can do … just saying) but the results are critical to your success.
When you try to offer everything to everyone, it’s kind of like the saying about putting a dress on a pig. You make the pig angry and you get frustrated, too. Stop dressing the pig.
Be clear, be focused, be successful.
To Your Success!