From Chapter 7 of The Savvy Guide to Making More Money
I have often heard people say 'Well, anybody, really . . .' is their target market. And it's not that they really think that 'anybody' will buy from them. What this really means is that they haven't given any thought to their target market at all. Harsh but, in my experience, invariably true.
Do you know of a product that is of interest to every single person on the planet... and one that they're willing to pay for? I don't. In fact, if your market truly was every single person in the whole world, you would be overwhelmed with business. It's also impossible for anyone to know 'anybody' in any meaningful way. Have you asked someone if they could tell 'anybody, really' about your services? They don't know Mr Anybody, Really. If you would like other people to tell their friends, neighbours, contacts and colleagues about you, you need to make it easy for them. What you need to do is to plant a seed in their minds, so that as soon as somebody says 'I could badly do with...', they reply with 'I know just the person that you need to talk to.'
I once met a B&B owner at an event in Nottingham. She stood up and began her pitch by saying that everybody was her target customer. The network leader bravely invited the attendees, in groups of two, to critique each person's introduction. The B&B owner was left on her own after everybody was paired up, so I went over to her. I started off the conversation by asking, 'Could you give me more specific characteristics of your typical customer, to help me think of people I could point in your direction?' She said, 'Well, anybody could be my customer, really.'
I replied by saying, 'Well, let's start with people who are absolutely aren't. What about newborn babies? What about the 80% of American citizens who don't have a pass- port? What about people who live outside of the UK who have a fear of flying? What about your next-door neighbour?' She dissolved into giggles and said, 'None of those people would have any need for my place at all.'
By the end of the conversation, we had sliced her market into two categories, and then sliced each category in half again. First, there were people in the domestic, as opposed to the international, market. In the case of the former, she was likely to attract people who were on a staycation, or attending an event in the area, or needed somewhere to stay while using local amenities. In the case of international visitors, they were likely to be on a trip visiting the UK or else visiting family and friends. Of course, there are other reasons why people might want to stay with her, but if she focused on attracting people who fitted into either of those groups and were looking to stay in Nottingham, she had a plan to work with.
Next, we split her market into new and previous guests. In the case of new visitors, she had to convince them from zero and had to compete against other properties in the area. Also, these guests were likely to be more price conscious, so it was necessary for her to stand out in some other way. In terms of attracting previous guests, she had to make sure to give them the same warm welcome that she had when they first stayed with her. And she needed to stay in contact with them periodically afterwards, to remind them that her B&B was still there to meet their needs and as well as those of anybody else who was travelling to Nottingham to stay overnight. She would of course be delighted if they were to recommend her property.
Finally, she decided she was going to consider a type of loyalty scheme: people could earn extra benefits by staying with her in the future or by referring somebody who 'wanted a fun staycation in Nottingham, was attending a family wedding, or was a nature fanatic who might want to visit David Attenborough's Reserve'. We cracked it in fifteen minutes. She hadn't realized how much valuable market data was sitting in her reservation books over the years. And there wasn't one person there who was 'anybody'.
Of course, from a certain point of view, the people who buy from you are 'anybody'. You might not be targeting 'only' profes- sionals, or 'only' women between twenty-five and thirty-five, or 'only' first-time home buyers. But you need to adopt a different point of view: all the 'anybodies' who buy from you have very specific characteristics in common. It's those characteristics you have to uncover. It's like going from being anonymous strangers to having a deep knowledge of someone.