In this article, I’m going to share;
- why saying NO is good for business
- and help you understand your ideal client
- how most people at networking events get it all wrong
- the answer to ‘finding your niche’
It doesn’t matter whether your out networking, or digitally networking (LinkedIn prospecting) or a combination of the two. I’ve asked this question to almost EVERY business owner I’ve had conversation with, both in the UK and overseas, at conferences, exhibitions, seminars, workshops and masterclasses. I ask it at EVERY networking event I go to, and to EVERY business owner I connect with on Social Media:
So, who is your ideal target client?
And the answer, more often than not, physically makes me cringe
“Everyone with…” or “Anyone who…”
It’s quite an EASY question to answer really…
And not one I would have thought to be overly difficult to answer. And yet 9 times out of 10 the answer starts with the word ‘Everyone’ or ‘Anyone’.
Now don’t get me wrong, I know there are many companies out there, with multiple products/services who wish to attract multiple clients from multiple sectors, and all of that is GREAT for business. But when your trying to get to know someone and their business. When your trying to build that Know, Like, Trust relationship which is crucial to any future buying decision. And the answer comes back as Everyone/Anyone you just want to walk away as quickly as possible and click UNSUBSCRIBE/BLOCK to the ensuing email invitations that you know are bound to be ‘their’ next step!
You see, in that one foul swoop, you’ve broken any form of Know, Like and Trust with the customer. You’ve used the words Everyone/Anyone, but what the customer hears is:
I don’t care about you, I just want your money!
Let me very briefly explain. My HND is in Sociology & Psychology. Since then I’ve also got a degree in Education and a Masters in Linguistics. In layman’s terms I’ve studied quite significantly, both language and human behaviour.
We’ve all heard the expression ‘Jack of all trades, master of none’. And might be happy for ‘Jack’ to come and fix a drainpipe, but wouldn’t dream of asking him to repair a leaking heart valve.
And exactly the same goes for every other decision that we make. When I want to engage in business with someone. I want to know they are a specialist in the area of business to which I am looking to engage them. The more specific they are about this, the more likely I am to build sufficient Know, Like and Trust to support my buying decision.
Let’s try a brief example:
I own a period house in the countryside. I’ve noticed some slight bowing in part of the roof, and on investigation have found some water damage to the support beams running through the gable end of the roof.
Search for a company to be able to resolve the issue and come across 2 companies adverts:
Company 1: BUILDERS/JOINERS/TILERS/ROOFERS
No job to big, no job to small. We have the skills and experience to tackle anything. Give us a call for a free quote – National Coverage.
So far the ad looks appealing. They have experience in building, joinery and rooves, accept both large and small projects, offer a free quote and cover everywhere in the country.
Company 2: Cheshire’s award winning period roof specialists
Chester’s triple award-winning roofers. With 4 generations of experience, we are specialists in period housing. We provide structural reports, thatched roofing quotes, dilapidation reports, and are recognised by the independent insurance ombudsman as a trusted trader for insurance works.
All of a sudden Company 1 has become far less attractive. I’m naturally expecting Company 2 to be more expensive and might have to wait longer for the job to get done, but are far more likely to commission them to do the work! – Why? Because they don’t sell Anything to Everyone.
I can’t remember who I first heard use the expression;
The money is in the niche
Arguably you might claim to know this, and that I’m not sharing anything new. And I’d agree, I’ve never claimed to re-invent the wheel. I’m merely highlighting how the language we use EVERY day is damaging our business our reputation our pipeline. Completely unintentionally we are sabotaging potential opportunities just because we have failed to grasp what could be considered the fundamentals of relationship building!
I’ll share one other quick example, but also as to how I used this to win one of our A list clients!
As an international keynote speaker, aside from my work in the Middle East, Asia, Africa and the US, I also agree to speak at local/regional business events. And on this occasion, I had been invited to speak at a Business Networking event in Chester. Approx. 100 Business Owners in the room for a 2 course lunch and pre-luncheon speaker. I’d taken the time to liaise with the event coordinator to learn WHO had booked onto the event, and researched further some of those people and the businesses they ran. All of this was preparation for the event prior to my arrival.
Prior Preparation Prevents Poor Performance
During my speech, I spoke about Niching, and told a story as to how the age of the customer determines how to sell to them, and used the sale of a washing machine as an example.
- 20 something, they are more interested in the interest free credit terms available to them!
- 30 something, they are more interested in load capacity and can they fit the family wash into one cycle?
- 40 something, they are more interested in its eco-credentials and whether it damages the environment and uses less water!
It’s the same sale, but its different language I’ll use to influence human behaviour and that comes down to KNOWING my IDEAL Target Audience.
You see, unlike other people at networking events, who might ask “So who are some of the clients your working with at present?” This is a polite way to determine ‘are you good enough to work for me?’ and determining if I want to be associated with the same people you are already working with! Where as, you might be looking to ‘up your game’ and WANT a new type, quality, sector of client to be working with?
What you’ve done has got you to where you are. What you DO will determine where you go next!
Therefore, I ALWAYS ask “Who is your IDEAL target client” this might not be anything like anyone you are currently working with. But someone you aspire to work with, and that’s my point. This subtle difference in language opens up a whole new world of opportunity. And by doing so, I can begin to determine am I more like THAT client, or might I know someone like that I could introduce you to?
Let me remain transparent.
Our IDEAL Target Client, is a business owner, somewhere between the age of 28-35 for one of our services, and 35-49 for another of our services. They also;
- have been trading for more than 5 years (either in this business or a previous business) and have a small team of 5 or more (usually less than 20) working for them
- are more likely providing a service rather than a product, and likely to be turning over between £500K and £5M
- may be or have been either a BNI member, or attend professional networking events, industry led seminars/conferences/workshops and regularly take time out the business to concentrate on their own personal development
Outside of work, they;
- have gym membership or regularly conduct some kind of sport or ‘keeping fit’ activity
- most likely to have a pet(s), and enjoy more than one foreign holiday a year
- own their own home, are a 2-3 car family and enjoy fine dining, and good company
- are dedicated to their work, but take their family extremely seriously and have a goal to achieve which is family orientated
Now I’m not saying…
If your less than 28 or more than 49 we won’t work with you! Nor am I saying if you haven’t got a team of 5 and work in the professional services industry your not for us. But if you ask me who our IDEAL target clients are, the majority of them fit into this bracket.
We know we do EXCEPTIONAL work for these people, who in turn love who we are and what we do for them. And its that point I’m trying to make. Unless you know WHO your IDEAL target clients are, your going to continue to peddle the hamster wheel trying to flog stuff to people in hope they buy from you!
Ignore all the BAD things you’ve heard about Cambridge Analytica and the appalling way in which they manipulated people’s decision making. Look at HOW they were able to do this. They openly admitted to having approx. 5000 data points (pieces of information) on EVERY adult in America! It was well over 10 years ago now, when I was challenged quite significantly by a large number of fellow armed forces veterans in an online veterans community when I said that WW3 will be determined by the touch of a button!
The amount of ridicule and slander I received for being ‘out of touch’ and that the America ‘StarWars’ project was no longer the biggest threat in the world. Until I calmly replied
But that’s not the button.
I have believed for a long time now, (and the CA scandal is proof of this) that countries will fall when Data supremacy is able to influence and manipulate the masses to cause up rising, riots and political discord.
The simple answer to all of this, is until you have a very clear, accurate and detailed picture as to exactly WHO is your IDEAL target client. Until you REALLY get to know in far more detail than your likely to be collecting at present, until you KNOW them, you’ll never know if they are in the room or dining out with your competitor!
We have a great exercise you can do to help you start to identify WHO your ideal target client is. Drop me a message and I’ll send you a copy.
Furthermore, if you REALLY want to get into this in a big way (without becoming the next DATA scandal) we are members of the Koogar Academy, within which is an INCREDIBLE downloadable tool which is our SECRET SAUCE for understanding the psychographics of our Ideal Target Client.
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Be careful of successful marketing!