Lesson #4 Why Saying No Can Get You More Customers

The strength of your list and precision of your targeting are the cornerstones that underpin sales success.

Maybe you’ve heard of the Pareto Principle, also called the 80-20 rule. It states that 80% of results stem from 20% of the contributing factors.

This can manifest in a lot of different ways.

For example, in our society, approximately 20% of the population controls about 80% of the wealth (and the inverse—80% of the people have only 20% of the wealth).

It’s a guideline rather than a hard-and-fast rule, but it’s an important concept in business because of its relevance for sales.

If 80% of your income stems from 20% of your customers, wouldn’t it make sense to focus our energies on that 20%?

This strategy allows you to focus on the most profitable customer so you are fulfilling a demand rather than creating it. It also helps to ensure that your marketing costs less than your potential profits.

To find that sweet spot, you need to profile your customer.

It’s much easier to sell to people who want something in the first place, rather than having to convince them that you have something they need. To do that, you need to attract the RIGHT customer. So where do you begin?

First, we should define “ideal customer.” Your ideal customer is the one who really wants what you have to offer and does not create an undue burden for your business. An ideal match brings value to both sides.

These wonderful people will appreciate everything you bring to the table; they won’t drain your resources, waste your time, or delay payments.

Your ideal customer is the one who not only buys your product or service, but who praises you behind your back and comes back for more. They’re your best marketer!

By focusing on the people who are more likely to buy during every encounter, you’re putting your investment of time, money, and resources to work for you.

How to find your customers

So how do you figure out who your ideal customer is?

Start with the answer you give potential buyers when they ask “what’s in it for me?”

No one wants to hear a capability pitch, your life story, or your credentials right off the bat.

They are looking to find out how their lives can be enriched by working with you.

You already have half of the answer if you did your homework from Lesson #3, by compiling a list of traits for your target customer.

Now that you know who they are, what we’re going to do is figure out what they feel and how they think.

– What makes them tick?
– What do they care about?
– How do they go about solving their problems?

From habits they may have to communication channels they use, getting to know your customers wants and needs lets you target your messaging so that you can create magnetic content to attract them.

And the most effective method to get that information is—surprise, surprise—talk to them!

Even if you can’t get an in-person or phone conversation going, you can easily conduct a survey via e-mail. There are plenty of free tools like SurveyMonkey, PollDaddy, and Google Docs. These are especially helpful if you are just getting started and don’t have a network of your own to mine for data.

The next step is to search for data that will help you find out where other potential buyers hang out and how to reach them. You can start with the lowest barrier environments, which are online.

Search Google, explore Twitter, read blogs and niche-based forums. You can find market research websites that offer white papers, public polls, studies, and statistics on a number of trends.

You may want to take a look at this step-by-step article on how to find customers online using Google and Twitter.

How to Use Google and Twitter to Find Your Customers

How to qualify your customer

Obviously, not everyone will buy your products the first time. Or even the second time or the third time.

Your marketing should filter prospects by attracting the right potential customers. In business, these are often called “sales leads.” Done right, your marketing should increase the probability of a purchase every time your ideal customer is exposed to it. And the ones that don’t match will filter themselves out.

The concept of leads has often been abused by irresponsible marketers who treat people as wallets instead of human beings with real emotions.

That is NOT what we teach here. In our philosophy, “leads” are people who show a level of interest in what you have to offer.

You need to build a relationship with prospects regardless of whether they buy your product or not. Even if they don’t buy, they may end up telling others about you and promoting your product by word-of-mouth.

A product or service is merely a means to an end. In reality, people don’t care or want your product or service.

It’s your job as a marketer to close the “reality gap” between what a customer thinks they want and what they really need.

People take action based on what they think they want; that’s all they know when they first encounter a challenge.

To diagnose what they need and close the gap, you must learn to map out the customer’s journey.

Make a list of all actions a person must take to reach a resolution, laid out in a timeline. This will help you learn to visualize behavioral patterns.

Start before the moment that he/she decides to use your product or service.

What will your customer do when they first encounter a challenge you can solve, before they know there is a solution?

Try to imagine all of their potential actions, all channels and touch-points that they will encounter, not just yours!

– Do they start by searching for solutions on Google?
– Do they have a brand in mind when they search?
– Or do they ask family and friends for help first?

Consider what happens next. What do they do with the information they get?

– Compare Prices?
– Read reviews?

This is how you learn to view the world the way your buyers perceives it. Then we identify exactly what those customers want so that you can position your product as close to that as possible.

Think of it this way. A kid needs vitamins. A kid wants candy. The answer: make a vitamin that tastes like candy.

When you narrow your market and create products specially tailored to your niche, it can triple your sales. Not to mention pre-qualifying potential customers and increasing the chances that everyone will pay on time.

Profitable Knowledge Exercise: Key Survey Questions for Narrowing Your Niche and Targeting Your Customer

You can use the following invitation to connect with prospects, customers, or potential markets that you want to access:

What’s your biggest problem or frustration with [SUBJECT]?
Let me know here [LINK TO SURVEY]

“What’s your biggest problem or frustration with getting more customers?

Your survey should contain the following questions:

  • What is your biggest pain or frustration? Your biggest desire?
  • What do you worry about?
  • What is the specific outcome you want to achieve?
  • What would you need to create that outcome?
  • What is your current (or greatest) strength? (or resource)
  • What is your biggest challenge with X?

These are the foundation questions for building a rapport with your customer.

Where can you look for respondents? Ask your:

  • Email contacts
  • Connections on social networks—Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.
  • Visitors to your website or blog
  • Your business associates, partners, vendors, or networking peers
  • Members of online forums
  • Past or existing customers

Remember to target the right people. If you’re talking to everyone, you’re talking to no one.

I’ll talk to you soon.

Oh, by the way…

If you are just joining us—if you found this page via a weblink or a forward from a friend—this is lesson #4 from a free online course on solid Internet marketing strategies. These lessons are delivered via e-mail. Want to learn how to build a business around what you love and make money doing it?

You can learn more about it HERE.