The legendary motivational speaker Jim Rohn once said, “In order to attract we must first become attractive.” He wasn’t talking about attractive in reference to dating. He was talking about your business becoming attractive to your audience.
I think you’ll agree that business is a courtship of sorts. I agree with Rohn and would add one caveat. Not only do you need to attract, you also need to repel certain people as well.
If you take the same approach as certain online dating sites, you will both attract the right clients and repel the wrong ones. Warning: It takes a willingness and discipline to turn down business, sometimes potentially significant business. Reframe “turning down business” to represent filtering out high maintenance or less-than-ideal clients. These are the customers who typically require a lot of your time and energy.
Niche dating sites have this mastered. They’re not afraid to apply that filter and rule people out right away. With names like Farmers Only and Christian Mingle, the filter is built right into their business names. It’s even built into their marketing and advertising from the get go. The filter automatically gets applied for them every single time.
They are polarizing and repel part of the overall potential client base in the online dating community — a significant portion of the audience, and that’s OK. It’s actually a good thing. There are riches to be made in any industry by specializing. For example, cardiovascular surgeons are compensated significantly better than general practitioners. Also, by specializing in a niche you can get great word-of-mouth advertising and referrals from people who travel in the same circles and work in the same industries as your ideal clients.
If you’re worried about narrowing your audience, consider this: There are more than 320 million people living in the U.S. If 1 percent of them hired you, you’d have 3 million new customers.
As I teach in my Game Changer Selling System, to maximize the return on your time, energy and results, you have to separate the prospects from the suspects as early in the process as possible. You need to be polarizing to create raving fans. Let’s extrapolate beyond just dating sites and look at sporting events.
In the stadium you have one set of fans rooting for their team and at the same time on the other side of the field there’s another set of fans booing them. Every great team is hated by a significant portion of the population. The New York Yankees are almost universally hated outside of their fan base. The same holds true for the Duke University basketball dynasty.
Brands aren’t any different: Coke vs. Pepsi, iPhone vs. Android, Dunkin’ Donuts vs. Starbucks, the list goes on.
We want everyone to be able to benefit from our product or service because we want to help as many people as possible (including ourselves). But that’s not reality. The reality of it is you can’t have raving fans without at the same time having a bunch of hecklers.
One of the biggest mistakes I see people make is casting too wide a net and trying to serve either too many clients or too many different types of clients. When you have a strong awareness of the profile of your ideal clients, you can attract more of them easier and repel suspects who are not ideal. As a result you will do a better job serving your clients.
Remember, if you’re marketing to everybody, you’re essentially marketing to nobody.
There is a counterintuitive benefit to being highly selective early on. I applied this strategy in my previous career when I was recruiting as a college coach. We played a very aggressive, attacking style both on offense and defense. If a prospect wasn’t highly aggressive 100 percent of the time, we immediately ruled him out. It didn’t matter how talented he was. No if’s, and’s or but’s about it.
This did two things:
- It prevented us from wasting time sifting through clutter or a lot of “non-fits.”
- It enabled us to state a clear position in the market. We were able to attract recruits whose playing style lined up perfectly with our philosophy, to the point where they approached us even more than we approached them.
In essence, it enabled us to become the hunted, not the hunters. Zero confusion, zero clutter in our process. Simple? Yes. Effective? Incredibly.
You can do the same thing in your business by being more polarizing. Do this by stating an incredibly clear position in the market. This is in essence step one in applying your filter to separate prospects from suspects. If you can, like a dating site, put it in your name or your product name.
I realize this isn’t possible for everyone, so here’s a strategy you can use:
Create a profile of exactly what your ideal client looks like, including demographics and psychographics. Next, examine your client roster and calculate what percentage of your current clients are ideal. Here’s a little food for thought: how many of them even know that they are ideal clients? I bet if they did, they could introduce you to others in their sphere of contacts who are just like them.
By utilizing this filter, you’re essentially cloning your best clients. At the same time you’re training your eyes to apply the filter and simultaneously repel the suspects or less-than-ideal clients. And in the process you’re becoming more attractive to your ideal segment of the market.
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This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/243547