Recently I joined a chapter of BNI, the worldwide business networking and referral group. It's a great organization and I've seen positive ROI in the 10 days or so that I've been a member...and being at the last few meetings I've been reminded of an important lesson in marketing...
SUCCESS COMES FASTER WHEN YOU FOCUS ON WHAT YOU WANT
I know this to be true in all aspects of life and business but in marketing and selling it is especially important. At my BNI meetings each member gets to give a 60-second "commercial" about their business and in the process ask the group for referrals.
At the last meeting, out of 60 or so members about 90% stood up, gave their commercial and ended asking for referrals by saying something like "I'm looking for anyone in the market for [insert their product of service]."
BUT I DON'T KNOW "ANYONE"
That's the problem with generic referral "asks"...I don't know Anyone. And now you're asking me to do YOUR work...to figure out who YOUR prospects are. As much as I may like you...I just don't have the time or commitment to do all that thinking for you.
GET FOCUS AND GET RESULTS
Now, let's look at one member who had a specific request...
This is a local subcontractor. He really wants to get involved in some new construction at an area hospital. His "ask" was pinpoint specific..."I want to meet with the facilities manager at the hospital and the project manager at ACME General Contractor." BAM! Within 5-minutes another member stood up and said I've got the contact you need, I'll introduce you.
One simple, seemingly insignificant change in the way he presented his request for a referral helped the people in the room connect the dots for him.
FOCUS ON YOUR IDEAL CLIENTS
A technique I teach my private consulting clients is to focus all of their marketing on 20 or 50 or 100 ideal clients. We list each one by name and build a marketing campaign around just those few ideal prospects. And the results can be dramatic. If you focus on your best, most profitable prospects and ignore the rest, you end up building your business with mostly "A" clients.
The intense focus actually shortens the time needed to sell your ideal prospects. That means you can close more ideal clients more quickly than if you take the traditional "shotgun marketing" approach...relying on the numbers game to work out.
The catch is that very few businesses will invest in the thinking you need to create this list and the deep marketing campaign necessary to make it work. It's a small hurdle, but often daunting if you haven't tried this approach before. (Shameless plug: Join my Market Leader Coaching program and I'll personally walk you through this process)
If you're not focused, I can guarantee you're spending more to win new business than you should and you're leaving money on the table!