Your Customers – 4, 4 & 92

A friend and small business owner recently asked for my thoughts on generating transactions for his business. Had I scripted this moment (and I didn't) I couldn't have found a better starting point for my article today.

What business owner hasn't thought about getting more customers?

Even if (when) you are blessed with all you need in that category,

  • You will be thinking about getting a better customer.
  • Or choosing among those you have, because you don't have the capacity to deal with all who want you and what you do.

Bottom line is, all customers are not created equal and all customers do not treat you equally.

Any of the above will lead you to the same place, three places actually.

A need to:

  • Identify your "best customer."
  • Create the message they most want to hear.
  • Build a strategy for putting the "right message" together with that "best customer."

Unless your business is supplying "the air we breathe".... anyone and everyone is NOT a description of your best customer.

It's common to say that, in fact so common that it has to be tied to human nature.

  • A fundamental desire to accommodate all, to put your product or service in the hands of everyone who wants or needs it.
  • Noble thoughts but the most dangerous description you could provide.

At best, it makes you sound vague.... at worst it makes you sound greedy.

Either way, that description is completely un-actionable. 

  • By you and the people who want to refer business to you (even your current customers).

So let's narrow the field a bit, starting with some more realistic numbers.

For that I am going to turn again, to the teachings of Jay Conrad Levinson, the father of Guerrilla Marketing.

The daily activity of running a business is always complicated, hectic and exciting.

So, I appreciate anyone who can cut through that chaos to make a point in a simple and effective way. Levinson does that well and I reference him often.

One of my favorite pieces of "Levinson thinking" is what I have come to think of as "4, 4 and 92".... not a direct quote from Jay, just the title I have given it.

Here's the idea. Of all the people who could be your customers -

  • 4% are interested in buying now.
  • 4% might be interested at some point in the future.
  • 92% don't care now and never will.

I really hated that idea the 1st time I heard it. 

  • In one fell swoop, 92% of my market had vanished.
  • How on earth was I going to survive, let alone prosper, if that was true?

After a little reflection, I realized, that I already knew that it was true ..... and you know it too.... because, all of us have heard "no", more often that we have heard "yes".

In fact, if you have taken any sales training.... you know a lot of it focuses on motivating you and a lot more focuses on handling "objections".

  • Because, "no" is going to happen 92% of the time.

Unless.... you focus most of your efforts on the people who are most likely to say yes.

If you talk to 25 people –

  • 1 will be excited, to have found you and buy what you sell.
  • 1 will be interested, to gather information they might use in the future.
  • 23 are hanging up, walking away or trying to sell you their product/service.

 So, what if, you focus on "4 + 4" instead of trying to change the minds of the other 23.

Everyone and anyone is never the answer to the question.... "Who is your best customer?"

Spend your time, money and energy where it will do the most good.

I can tell you from personal experience. At a minimum, you will fell a lot less rejection and at the most, grow your sales.

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