Salespeople ignore this rule on a regular basis, says Joe McGonigal, co-founder of SCC Partners, a coaching and consulting firm. They start with the product. They talk to anyone who will listen about features, benefits and ROIs, and then they wonder why they have so many stalled sales or missed opportunities.
“When you try to appeal to everyone, your message is generic, boring and often ignored. Instead of trying to turn everyone into a client, define who you really want to do business with,” McGonigal states. He identifies three key advantages of strategically segmenting and defining your target audience:
You can’t be everything to everyone.No company or individual can serve an entire market, nor should it try to. Instead of blindly calling on everyone “on your list” or in a specific set of ZIP codes, ask yourself:
• Who am I best suited to help?
• Where are my products, services, and expertise most in demand?
• What types of clients already find value in what I do?
• What does my ideal client care about?
These questions alone will help you begin to craft a value proposition that resonates and attracts the right people.
Your clients are an extension of you. Your clients are part of your brand, and on many levels they represent what you value. Knowing that, ask yourself the following questions.
• Are you spending enough time with the right people?
• How many of your current clients would you consider ideal?
• Are you proud of the client list you have built and energized to work with these clients?
“On the other hand, how many would you define as ‘less than ideal’ — the type that suck the energy (and sometimes the soul) out of you?” McGonigal asks. “Working with the right clients gives your work more meaning. You feel inspired and more deeply connected to your clients.”
Make selling easier. You may have the best product or service in the market, but if you’re trying to sell it to the “wrong people,” chances are you’re going to run into a lot of dead ends and objections. Motel 6 doesn’t hand out fliers outside The Ritz-Carlton hoping to lure people in with lower rates. Why? Because they know the people who stay at the Ritz-Carlton don’t value what Motel 6 offers.
When you try to sell to people outside your target audience, their values and beliefs are different than yours, so you spend all your time trying to convince and persuade. The opposite is true when you’re sitting with an ideal client. Because you are more closely aligned, you have a better chance of identifying problems or opportunities for which you have a solution. These conversations are less about price and more about fit and value.
Once you clarify who you really want to work with and who you can really help, it’s easier to craft a story and a value proposition that resonates with your ideal clients and fills your funnel with more highly qualified prospects. It may mean that you decide to stop calling on some accounts, but that beats wasting another minute of your time with the wrong prospects.