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Jacky Sherman

The Consultant's Consultant

07970 638857


A Target Market Will Give You Lots Of Choice

Being very specific helps ...


Posted by Jacky Sherman on 16/02/2022 @ 8:00AM

I first published this blog post about defining your target market in 2017. A lot has changed in my services since then, but the principles behind the examples given still hold ...

You'll get many more good referrals if everyone knows who your target market is!

You'll get many more good referrals if everyone knows who your target market is!

copyright: jirsak / 123rf stock photo

Being very specific about your target market helps people in your network to spot the right opportunities for you. It paints a picture in their head and ideally, when they see or hear of someone that matches that picture, they think of you.

Yet an awful lot of small business owners struggle to believe this because they worry about missing opportunities. Surely being specific is limiting? It sounds counterintuitive, doesn't it?

It makes more sense to keep it broad, so others spot opportunities for you and ensure that you don't miss out. Test it out. Which of these two sentences brings a real person to your mind?

  1. My clients are anybody, based anywhere, who needs help with anything to do with finding new clients.

  2. My clients are consultant and business support providers who have a small business, but provide specialist expertise to larger companies. They are based in and around Northampton and Milton Keynes. They know their best clients come from introductions, but they are frustrated with the Return on Investment of time and money they get from their networking. They feel lost at what to do differently to get better results.

Ahh yes, I hear you thinking, but what about the people who don't quite fit that description? My recent experiences would suggest that my close network refers me what I want, but are capable of exercising some judgement in the matter.

  • 64% of my clients hit the bullseye and fit the bill as described above completely

  • 85% are based in my franchise area or just over the border

  • 85% are consultants working with larger companies

In the last two weeks, I have received five super referrals, all from people who know who I want to meet and all are real possibilities to win business.

"Yet none of those referrals completely
hit the bullseye!"

Three of them come pretty close, but geographically are some distance away, outside my franchise area; and that makes joining my group programmes challenging and unattractive to them.

The other two, at first glance, don't seem relevant at all. One is a large public sector organisation who wants their managers to learn networking skills and the other wants their technical staff to improve relationships with their customers.

Now what made those referrers think these were suitable for me? Well, mostly their in-depth knowledge of me and what I can offer and they are intelligent enough to ask the obvious questions and then leave me to decide whether to accept.

  • "Well, I know someone who fits that bill, but they are not local, does that matter? Do you have someone who covers that area?"

  • "It's not referral marketing, but I know you cover networking skills and relationships so would this be of interest?"

Now did I accept all these referrals? It would have been easy to say yes to all of them, after all, who can afford to turn away good money? If I was rigid in sticking to my target market, I could just as easily have said no to them all.

I decided that my real sense of purpose that underpins why I do what I do is to help small businesses to be successful through collaboration.

Those where geography was the only barrier, I would have referred to a colleague in that area, but as there is no-one nearer than me, I have proposed a distance learning approach.

The owner of a smallish business is looking for his technical staff to support the sales and marketing activities. So that I will take up. I already offer this service to others.

The public sector organisation ticks very few boxes as well as being some distance from me. It is a small part of an enormous organisational change initiative with all sorts of caveats about fitting into their scheme of things. It's the world I used to belong to and made a conscious decision to leave.

It would eat a lot of time and take me away from building my business with the sort of clients I want to work with. So, no, not for me right now, but thank you for the opportunity and I can see why you suggested it.

What can you learn from this in briefing your referral partners?

  • Be clear and precise in describing your target market and make sure your referral sources know who you would like to be referred to and equally who is not right for you.

  • Spend enough time with them giving examples of the range of what you deliver to leave them some scope to at least offer you the opportunity for something a little different.

  • Be prepared to say no thank you as well as yes please. It will feel good the first time you make that choice.

Until next time ...



Would you like to know more?

If anything I've written in this blog post resonates with you and you'd like to discover more about defining your target market, it may be a great idea to give me a call on 07970 638857. Let's have an initial chat over a coffee and see how I can help you.

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