Wednesday, May 25, 2016

More on Target Market Refinement

Earlier in the week I joined a workshop on client acquisition and picked up some fascinating insights that further shaped my own thinking on defining the elusive "target customer".

Our host used as his theme putting away firewood for the winter as an analogy for databasing potential customers.  The farmer cut enough wood to cover his needs and stockpiled those outside the house for later use.

The exercise he engaged in was bound up in the tactics of taking "trees" and converting them to "stacked wood".  I'm just as fascinated with the process of finding the trees.  For many, the assumption would be that "all trees are my customers" and cull what is needed.  But even our farmer had to narrow the focus, viz:

1.  Trees reachable from the farm, either close enough in distance, accessible by road, and/or not owned by someone else.
2.  Trees that are the right ones from which to make firewood.  (e.g. No pines, shrubs, etc.)
3.  Trees that are sufficiently old enough to cut.
4.  Trees free of diseases, rot, etc.
5.  Trees that can in fact be cut with the tools at hand.
6.  Trees whose wood is more valuable for other uses (e.g. fine furniture, syrup production, etc.)

As we search for good customer prospects, we must always be mindful that not all of the "trees" are even going to be prospects, and of the prospects not all will be qualified.  We can improve our ROI on prospecting, and finding customers through appropriate media channels, by thinking about exactly what kind of "tree" we want and spending our valuable time on those.

Bottom Line: Look at your concept of a "target customer" and ask, is this truly focused enough?  Is this a person I can reach, that would ever be a customer, would present more difficulties than gains, and can ever use my help?  Size up your trees!

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