Ok, it’s January, and you’re no doubt finalizing your growth plans for 2018. One area you’re reviewing is your target audience. And you’re asking, “Are we talking to the right people? Is there a better way to define our target so we can grow sales faster?”

Those are great questions, and well worth your time. To help make sure you get to the right answers, do these two things BEFORE you start the process of defining, or updating your target audience definition.

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  1. You can’t fish in two places at the same time
  2. The bait you’d use to be highly successful at catching one type of fish is almost never the best bait to use for some other kind of fish.

Think of the all the decisions that forces you to make before you ever pick up a rod and reel. Here is the biggest and most important: You have to decide to go for only one kind of fish. This is remarkably hard for a lot of business owners. They intellectually understand that they should focus on one segment, they don’t want to leave any potential prospects out. And they end up wasting time and money trying to appeal to everyone. So think about it as if you were going fishing. If you were, you have to choose.

B.   Take an hour and analyze the customers you’ve had (and lost) over the past year. Here are the major questions:

  1. Why did they buy from you?
  2. How happy are they
  3. How profitable were they?
  4. Why didn’t you win the ones you lost? Who did they buy from? What might bring them back in the future

Here’s an example: We helped a client through this process recently. She was very surprised to discover that a customer segment she was really excited about turned out to be extremely unprofitable. The customers tended to be smaller and needed a lot of hand holding, which wasn’t the case for her company’s larger customers and something her company wasn’t terribly good at. So they spent a lot of money trying to hold the customer’s hand, but didn’t do a very good job of it.

We helped her understand that those smaller customers were not her target audience. When she switched all of her focus to larger customers, her sales started to increase rapidly, and her profits soared.

It’s hard to make the choice to focus only on a slice of your potential customers. And it’s even harder to stick with that decision over time. But the evidence is clear: when you focus on prospects that are like your BEST customers, you win more, and your bottom line will thank you.