Will the lie of spurious targeting destroy business growth?

By: William Buist on : 1st April 2016: Business Design, Business Model, Business articles: No Comments

If you are not aiming you cannot hit the target, but what if your aim is not to a target at all?

I meet many people who run businesses in our work, and one aspect of knowing many people is that I can seek to connect people for business. It is important to be clear about with whom you ideally want to work. In our experience, the more explicit your target is, then the more likely you are to get referrals. Often I am told either ‘everyone’ or worse, a “lie” that purports to be clear and precise but is a pseudonym for ‘everyone’ – If you think that is your target market, then you are kidding yourself.

Don’t lie to yourself – Targeting should not be a spurious representation of ‘everyone’.

Here are some examples of things to avoid:

  1. An “SME Business Owner” – SME’s cover almost any business except the very largest enterprises. Perhaps 95% of the world,
  2. A “Company Director” – See 1
  3. “Someone who needs more sales” – It is just a truism. Doesn’t every business needs more sales?
  4. “Someone who is seeking to control costs” – Another truism, accurate for every business.

Here are some examples that work:

  1. The training manager of a FTSE 100 bank’s regional office in Bristol.
  2. A training company director responsible for around 40 trainers.

What’s interesting in this is that in the first four examples we can all probably think of lots of people, and in the second we probably don’t know anyone that’s exactly right. What happens in the former case is that people can’t decide which person to refer, having too much choice mean that they cannot decide which, but none. In the latter case, they tend to think of someone similar, or explore the ‘why’ that person in the conversation that ensues.

The result is someone, one person, who is similar in some way to the specific request. When that happens then is that there’s no reason not to give the referral; the fit is too good to miss.

So don’t lie about your ideal customer, describe them as the individual they are, don’t spuriously target everyone, but specifically target one. Business inevitably flows.

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