Zeroing in on Your Target Market

Are You Hunting The Right Prospects?

In preparation for launching our Sales Training Academy, I came across an interesting allegory from Larry Lewis, the brains behind the Client Builder Selling System. When it comes down to it, the whole point of Marketing is to reach your target market, right? If you were to equate the search for new clients to hunting game, what would you be feeding your family these days?

Targeting the Right Prospects

There are plenty of rabbits all around, all the time. I just have to step out my back door and Blam! I got another one. The only problem is, one little bunny hardly makes a meal for me, let alone the whole family.  It doesn’t take long to realize that bigger game might be the ticket to a better life.

So what about going after a bear? That would provide a lot of meat for a long time, not to mention a lovely new rug for in front of the fireplace. The only trouble is, this fella doesn’t wander through my backyard so I’m going to invest a lot of effort to find him. Once I’m on his turf, another thought enters my head – if one little thing goes wrong, this guy can kill me!

Better yet, let’s go hunting deer. They are relatively plentiful, no sharp teeth and claws, and enough meat to satisfy my needs.

Choosing Your Ideal Client

Let’s look at how this would play out in a particular business – a Hairstylist makes a good example. Many hairstylists would say their target market is “anyone with hair on their head”.

But if you consider the various clients, the frequency they come in and the services those clients use, it becomes apparent that some types of clients are more profitable than others.

Rabbits, for our hairstylist, may be kids’ haircuts and women who wear their hair unprocessed and long. They have a lower return frequency and a smaller profit for the hairstylists’ time.

A bear could be a job as on call stylist for a local celebrity who needs a style each morning and for various special events. This would be a great steady income stream, but the priority relationship it would demand could make any other client base difficult to manage. In addition, there is always the threat of being ‘let go’ resulting in no income quite suddenly.

The deer, then, would be people who use services with greater frequency, and/or chemical treatments. These might include men or women with very short haircuts, blonds or grey haired people with ‘roots’ that require frequent color, or women wanting a weekly shampoo & style.

Most successful businesses have clientele of both rabbits and deer as often the rabbits become deer over time (as in teenage girls grow up and want to go blond!) but the true target to which the majority of the marketing effort is directed is the deer.

Take a close look at your client base. Who are the rabbits? – the ones who take up your time without spending enough to really be profitable. Who are the bears that have the potential to consume you? – either by taking all your time or becoming so large a percentage of your business that they ‘own’ you. And, most importantly, who are the deer that yield a decent return for your time and energy? Define them carefully and then focus your Marketing to capture your target.