There’s always some king of a catch when small business owners (SBOs) go through the conventional business development processes. Can you guess what the biggest one is?
SBOs are constantly being hounded about their target market. You can’t even escape it when you’re networking, or listening to speakers talk about marketing, which is when you will probably hear it the most. That doesn’t make the question inconsequential. Everyone knows that in order to succeed, you have to know your audience. So what’s the catch? Knowing exactly what you offer before you can begin identifying target prospects. Unfortunately, not every SBO knows this. If you have a chat with your SBO colleagues about it, you’ll get a pretty long and vague laundry list. Finding your ideal customer means knowing exactly what to offer and that doesn’t include anything in the world to whomever will buy it.
Step one in identifying your target market is figuring out exactly what you offer.
While we’re on the topic of the primary focus of your business, there are many things you can probably do right now. There are loads of offshoot services from your primary product or service that you can offer. Be wary because making them part of your focus can turn them into distractions, not upsells. Do not dilute your focus!
The primary product or service that you offer is your main focus when finding the idea market.
In order to engage your primary target, the next step is personifying the ideal client to purchase it. Harvey Mackay talks about the use of the Mackay 66 in his book, Swim with the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive. If you’re in sales, you need to have a file with the answers to 66 questions about every single one of your customers if you want to actually get to know them.
Here are some details about what you’ll want to know about your clients:
- 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 hone in on your ideal client and target market.
So this catch-22 is resolved. Great! But I want to take you one step further.
Alright, so now you know the target, but do they fit in your customer profile? Are they the right customer for you?
Don’t worry, you already have what you need in order to figure this out. Imagine walking into a store and a salesperson greets you. They begin to talk to you, trying to figure out what you want and if they can meet your needs. Ask by Ryan Levesque illustrated this point quite well with a story of a man who was trying to find a purse to purchase for his wife. The salesperson rambles off a list 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 accouterments or for just a few things like wallet and phone?
The salesperson is doing something very important here. They’re taking a survey. Based on your experience with the customer, you can conjure up a survey filled with questions that can sort through the prospects that you meet so you you can identify your sales targets. Does this all take a lot of effort and loads of time? Definitely. You may also need an objective eye to assist you during this process (which is what I can do … just saying) and these results are critical to your success. If you try to offer everything to everyone, it’s similar to the saying about putting a dress on a pig. You end up making the pig very angry and you will end up getting frustrated, too. Stop dressing the pig. Be clear, be focused, BE SUCCESSFUL.