More on Why You Should Have a Narrow Target Market

I had a very short conversation with a salesperson from a sales training company last week.  It was less than 5 minutes.  He listened to me describe my target market and only heard as far as attorneys, independent financial advisors and chiropractors.   He heard those three word and only saw that he had clients that were attorneys and financial advisors.  At that point he stopped listening.  He really didn't have a target market and focused on everyone who sold anything - which is everyone, by the way.  Even if you work for a company you are a free agent who sells their services to one client.  Because he only saw the overlap in our demographics, he didn't see any opportunities for us to help each other.

He lost out on the referrals I could give him, and by trying to appeal to everyone, he loses other opportunities as well. 

There's two parts to this - you have a brand and an image whether you like it or not and you develop that image and brand every single time you interact with anyone in any way, whether it's direct contact, personal, email, mail, word of mouth, etc.  Your brand will attract a certain kind of client, whether you want it to or not.  Nothing works exactly the same way for everyone.  There is no single product on earth that appeals to everyone.  If you don't create your brand deliberately, the world will create it for you and you will have an extremely difficult time changing it.

The second part is this - by trying to appeal to everyone, or thinking that your product or service works for everyone, you will alienate people instead of attracting them.  People are much more attracted by the idea of being a member of an exclusive group than by being treated just like everyone else.  It's the other side of the same principle that Harry Beckwith states in Selling the Invisible (see my last blog post).  Narrowing your position ( another word for brand) broadens your appeal.  So trying to have too broad a position or brand limits your appeal.

Wouldn't you rather be seen as belonging to an exclusive club?  Think about all the restaurants and country clubs that thrive on this principle.

Had the sales training person spent more time with me and seriously considered whether we could work together, he would have found out that in reality there is no overlap at all.  Our clients might have the same demographics in general, but they differed greatly when you looked closer.  My clients would never hire him and his clients wouldn't be interested in me at all. We appeal to very different segments of the same market.  I was very clear on that, he wasn't. 

I make much more efficient use of my time and pick up clients that aren't related to my target market at all because they get the appeal, even though I don't market to them.   And I have other associates that do what he does and get the referrals that I might have given to him.

That's one of the side benefits of being very focused.

So how can you further focus your marketing efforts?