Want to Sell More? Stop Trying to Serve Everyone

Niche Market - Bow & Arrow
© Depositphotos.com/iqoncept

They say “variety is the spice of life,” and one thing most of us business owners enjoy is that we get to do lots of different types of work, with different types of customers.  There are many benefits to this variety, but today I want to show you how breadth can hold your business back from faster growth.  While it may be counterintuitive, if your business focused on a narrower niche, you would likely find more new customers, faster.

Business A.D.D.

I recently started working with an IT support company.  The owner was telling me about the different services they offer, and it was a very long list.  They help people set up smartphones and tablets; they help businesses install computer networks; they design custom software; they consult on technology workflows; …and I’ll spare you the rest of the list.

Their business had grown like this organically.  People approach them for many different projects.  They enjoy the variety, and they never want to turn down the money.

Sound familiar?  Yeah, many of us are in a similar situation.


The Benefits of Focusing

The IT company felt like they were maximizing their revenue potential by doing lots of different things.  But actually, the businesses that grow the fastest tend to be laser focused.  When you focus on serving a narrower niche, three things make it easier for you to find new clients.

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A More Compelling Pitch

If you’ve ever struggled to find a concise way to answer, “What do you do?” then you’re not alone.  When you offer a million different services, it’s really hard to get a potential client interested.  You end up offering everyone a laundry list, and they’ll often tune you out.

I worked with a personal trainer who had many talents.  He marketed himself as “able to help anyone get the body they want.”  He could help people lose weight, gain muscle, gain energy, strengthen joints, and on and on.  He wasn’t getting the number of new clients he wanted, because his pitch was generic.  It wasn’t compelling for any of his client types.

When you narrow your audience, you can tailor your message to be much more powerful.  After we worked on the trainer’s marketing, he started pitching himself as, “I will help you fit back into your old jeans.”  And suddenly people started raising their hand, saying, “I want that!”  His client roster grew quickly.


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Know Where to Find Clients

If you’re trying to help tons of different types of people, where do you go out and find them?  On the other hand, when you focus, it can be much easier to find prospects.

One of my clients, a creative agency, had a client portfolio ranging from startups to Fortune 500, nonprofit to government.  I helped them narrow their focus to nonprofits, a type of work they really loved.  Then they identified a few conferences for non-profit executives, and they became regulars at these events.  Suddenly they had roomfuls of ideal clients!


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Develop Stronger Expertise and Reputation

When you focus on a niche, you can develop your expertise in this area much more rapidly than if you spread your energy.  You’ll have a deeper portfolio of case studies that look exactly like what your prospective clients want to see.  This makes it a lot easier to land clients.

Additionally, your reputation will grow among people in this niche.  Your business can become known as “the go-to company” for this particular specialty.  I’ve never met a business that was “the go-to company” for everything.  Focus allows you to stand out, and to become coveted.



But Wait!  I Don’t Want to Rule Anyone Out

I’m not saying you have to fire current clients that are outside of your niche.  Nor do you have to turn down people who approach you.

What we’re talking about is focusing your marketing–really getting clear about whom you are going out to look for.  Rather than aimlessly roaming the oceans, find a nice lake and get to know it really well.  You will catch more fish, faster.

Action Plan: Defining Your Niche

If you’re ready to get more focused in your business, here’s how to define your niche.  There’s two different dimensions to consider: type of product or service, and type of customer.

Step 1

First, make a list of the different types of products or services you have provided in the past.  Next, make a list of all of the types of clients you have worked with.  Use whatever client categories make sense:  For businesses, perhaps industry, size of company, etc.  For individuals, perhaps age, gender, occupation, etc.

[fancy_header]Example:  General Contractor[/fancy_header]

Product/Service Types:

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  • New construction, single-story
  • New construction, multiple-story
  • Remodeling, less than $500K
  • Remodeling, more than $500K



Customer Types:

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  • Family
  • Small business
  • Big company
  • Developer


Step 2

On each of your two lists, choose one (or two, at most) to focus on.  To decide, consider the combination of financial opportunity with what you enjoy doing.

Congratulations, you have a new niche!  Now you can focus your marketing energy, and notice how much easier it is to attract new customers.

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