Articles Tagged ‘Target market networking’

Move the Needle-Understand your target market

Monday, May 21st, 2012

Last year, I was having breakfast with a colleague at a restaurant that is near my office. I bumped into a handful of current/past clients and a few great prospects. Afterwards, I realized that I had really enjoyed spending time with people who valued my time and expertise.

Then, I went back to my office and looked at my calendar for the week. Unfortunately, I had too many appointments with individuals who were going to complain about their business, my fees and life in general. I asked myself the following types of questions – “Who would I rather spend time with? Who values my services the most? Who can I help get the best results? What type of client is the most profitable?”

The answers to these questions helped me to see that over the past several years I had spent a portion of my efforts targeting the wrong market. I had lost sight of the type of customer that was the best fit for my services. The result was that my business hadn’t grown as quickly as I desired and my margins were being squeezed.

If you’re like most small business owners you have on more than one occasion lost your way and spent too many resources trying to get the wrong person to buy from you. The reason you allowed this to happen is that you desperately want to be everything to everyone because you don’t want to miss out on any opportunities.

The problem with this approach (selling to everyone) is that you lose your focus on those customers that generate the most profit. Remember, you are in business to make a profit, not just to generate revenue. St Elmo’s could probably generate more revenue by reducing their prices and opening 10 stores throughout central Indiana, but what would that do to their profit?

You need to ask yourself the same questions I did last year and a few others to determine the best target market for your products and services. Here you go – Who likes buying from you? Who do you enjoy doing business with? Who doesn’t question your prices every other order? Which customers generate the most profit? Which customers provide you with the best referrals?

As soon as you have a crystal clear set of answers to these questions you then need to review your current marketing plan to see if you are targeting the right group of prospects. In addition, this exercise will probably reveal that you need to get rid of a handful of your current clients. (You can blame it on me if it will make the conversation easier.)

There you go – a simple exercise for helping you refocus your marketing efforts. As with most things in life, the solution is simple. All you need to do is choose to execute. Choose wisely.

C.J. McClanahan
Reachmore Strategies
317-576-8492
cjm@goreachmore.com

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5 PROBLEMS YOU COULD AVOID BY HAVING A TARGET MARKET AS PART OF YOUR REFERRAL STRATEGY

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

I met with one of my clients yesterday and we talked about his target market, I had a conversation with a friend who runs her business and we talked about her target market. I had a phone call with a potential referral partner to discuss our referral strategy and we talked about our target market.

It seems that Target Market is an important subject, and one that every business should focus on clarifying. So why does it seem so difficult, for businesses and solopreneurs to identify a target market? Not having clarity on this topic creates a whole host of problems;

1. You spend your marketing money using an ineffective shotgun approach that nets low value results.

2. You find yourself networking at completely inappropriate places. If I sell cars and I know that 65% of all new car purchasing decisions are made by women, then I am going to go network with women and other businesses who sell to women, not a room full of men.

3. You end up having the wrong conversations with the wrong people at the wrong time. Because you are looking for anybody who needs your services you waste a lot of time talking to everybody even when they are the wrong somebodies.

4. You cannot develop a good referral partner and you end up with a lot of sources who are referring you low level, low value leads. A good referral partner has the exact same target market as you do, you are focused and you have a strategy for developing referrals.

5. You miss great opportunities because you are so busy taking care of the low value clients and customers that your high value opportunities are passed by.

10% of your clients create 80% of your income and 10% of your clients suck up 80% of your time and generate little income, why would you use shotgun approaches that only net you more of the latter? If you focus on the top 10%, spend your time and money seeking more of them, the other 80% will just show up and you will be able to regularly clear out the bottom 10% thus freeing up your time to nurture the top 10%.

Hazel Walker
Referral Institute, llc
BNI
hazel@bni.com

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