Have you ever heard successful salespeople say they do very little marketing yet business just comes to them? Everyone wants to increase sales and impact their markets, but not everyone has
uncovered the key to making that happen: calling on the right customers.
The old axiom “You can’t be everything to everyone” is as true in business as it is in our personals lives. In terms of sales it means that not every potential customer is a good fit for your products
and services. Some will value what you have to offer more than others, and the trick is to find who they are because they will close faster, more often, and with less effort. In fact, they will often
seek you out, because referrals and results do their own marketing.
Recently I was asked to give a keynote speech for the YPO (Young Presidents Organization) Manufacturing Excellence Meeting in Long Beach. They wanted me to speak about executing sales strategy throughout an entire organization. As part of the pre-work for the meeting, they had the audience read a 2008 Harvard Business Review article titled “Can You Say What Your Strategy Is,” which they used to analyze the three parts of a successful sales strategy. As an example, they used the strategy of one of my clients, Edwards Jones:
To grow to 17,000 financial advisers by 2012 by offering trusted and convenient face-to-face financial advice to conservative individual investors who delegate their financial decisions, through a national network of one financial advisor offices.
The element of this strategy that I want to discuss here is this: “conservative individual investors who delegate their financial decisions.” For Edward Jones to succeed in building a network of single financial advisor offices that pride themselves on providing individual attention to clients in mapping out financial strategies, they had to specify their particular brand of customer—conservative investors who delegate their financial decisions. They are very clear who their target market is and who they best serve, and they do it with tremendous success.
As a Sales and Leadership expert, I offer my services as a professional speaker at events, as an advisor to boards and organizations, and as a coach and trainer in certain situations. Fortune 500 companies invite me to speak at their conferences, and sometimes invite me to train divisions. In the last seven years, the market spoke to me and for some reason a lot of my work gravitated to small- and medium-sized businesses; their CEOs retain me on an annual basis to help transform their businesses. This type of work has come naturally without much effort and is a direct result of being in tune with who the “right customer” is for my business. Now the audiences for my speeches are skewed toward CEOs, and a new line of revenue was generated as we created a Chief Revenue Officer Mastermind Group (CRO) five years ago for CEOs of medium-sized companies who are looking to grow their businesses. The bottom line is that most of these opportunities come from the speaking opportunities I am presented with—meaning that I am in front of the “right customers” when I am speaking, which is a form of marketing in itself.
Who is your right customer? Where are they? Are you in front of them? When you figure this out, you will gain velocity and your business will grow substantially, even as you exert less effort. If you need help, call me.