Business Development – ensuring that you are approaching the right target
I remember going to the department store as a younger man. While walking through the appliance area, it was almost inevitable that a sales person would approach me and say, “May I help you pick out a refrigerator?” I would think to myself, “Why would a need a refrigerator? Especially the $2,000 refrigerators they would want me to purchase?” I was not their customer. Perhaps someone that looked just like me at the time, but not me.
As you know, that isn’t an uncommon scenario; many times, people in your target markets aren’t going to be ready to purchase what you are selling when you are ready to sell to them. So if we know who our customer is and how to communicate with them, the next thing we need to work on is narrowing that list down to those who will have need for our services. As opposed to those who have immediate need for our services.
Think about some of the travel companies. They know that most of the time, most people aren’t going to be ready to take a vacation right now. Yet, they offer flash sales and discounts almost all of the time. What they are actually doing, if you think about it, is solidifying in your mind that they are the company to go to when you are ready and that you will more than likely be able to find some discounts on where you are going.
Your presence with your target market needs to take on the same “life,” so to speak. While you may not wish to position your company as the low-cost leader, it is your job to find out what it is that causes your clients to buy…what is that entry point that will catch your attention.
Think about it: when you get an advertisement from one of the travel companies, it will most likely be a discount on whatever you purchased last: hotel, airfare or car rental. When you get to their site, however, they have a number of products that might also appeal you – hotel, airfare and car rental, and packages combining two or three items…plus fabulous-looking vacation packages.
By going to the site in response to an advertisement, you have said, “now – you have my attention” They are saying, “while I have your attention – here are some other things that might interest you.”
Kind of like, “would you like fries with that?”
In these examples, we are the right market. We have qualified ourselves by taking action.
Your market will do the same thing. They will qualify themselves by acting on your offering – when they are ready. They will qualify themselves.
How can you make this work for you?
Look at your offering or offerings:
- What need are they filling? Are they helping your client to achieve some goal, or addressing some deficit that they have?
- What is your pricing strategy with the items? Are you low, median or high priced against replacement offerings – those things people or businesses would purchase instead of yours.
- Looking at alternate solutions, what perception does your product offer? Is it a high value/high cost, low value/high cost, high value/low cost or low value/low cost?
- Are you offering what you offer in such a way that it is difficult to duplicate? Can you use this differentiator in your communications in a way that will attract your audience?
Now look at your audience: what would make people purchase what you are offering as it presently exists? If you are in the restaurant industry, for instance, it will probably be more than “when they are hungry.” It might look like, “when someone wants a really excellent hamburger in a casual-dining environment to enjoy with friends while watching football.” By being specific with this, you can make sure that you are approaching the right audience. (Even if it includes the posers who are there doing their own fishing; they know where to go to find your audience.) This is the need that your target audience needs filling.
Now make your audience believe that your company is the absolute best one to fill their need. It is the perception you give people that will make them purchase or not purchase. If you position your company as one that has offerings that are extraordinary and make your audience believe it, half of your job is done.
With an understanding of your product or service and how it meets your audiences’ needs, you may find that you have been fishing in the wrong pond the whole time.
Adjust and execute.
Rick Meekins is the Managing Consultant at Aepiphanni, the trusted advisor for business leaders who are seeking forward-thinking solutions to help them plan for and navigate through the challenges of business growth. Our entrepreneurial multidisciplinary team works with clients to develop differentiating solutions and provide direction focused on lasting, strategic results. We exist to help our clients CREATE | DESIGN | BUILD extraordinary businesses.
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