You choose your customers. Let me tell you that this is a mystery to nearly all small business owners. They're trying to get "everyone" to buy. And that is wrong.
If you believe "everyone" is your customer, you are not in control of your revenue.
You're also not in control of your business relationships.
"Please won't you buy?" is NOT the headspace we want to be in!
How You Choose Your Customers
Sandy Hughes of SCORE has put together a good article on sales performance. And where do you think she begins?
Quoting Mike Michalowicz, author of The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur:
"Entrepreneurs are often in ‘panic mode.’ They go after everyone rather than pursue a consistent customer profile. They don’t ask the right questions because they don’t know what those questions are.”
Michalowicz goes on to say that like every component of business, sales are systemizable. “The groundwork for that system is filtering,” he says. “Look for information and characteristics that differentiate good customers from less attractive ones."
That is about as clearly worded as I've seen it put.
And how do we get this information?
“Customers will share these things with you,” Michalowicz says. “And if you ask frequently enough, you’ll find these are the same issues prospective customers are facing. So you can apply responses across the board.”
Hmm. What does this sound like?
Looks like Mike knows about effective selling!
What Happens If You Don't Believe You Choose Your Customers
Sales is not about pushing features and benefits at anyone who will listen. Selling is about filtering. This is how you choose your customers. A consistent process of filtering, to separate people who have a problem that you can solve, and is big enough to be worth your attention, from those who don't. To separate people who value the unique or hard-to-find things that you bring to the table from those who don't. To separate people who will treat you nicely from those who have trouble playing well with others.
If you don't filter, you're leaving yourself open to the "I'll Take Anyone" approach. And that is a terrible place to be. No control. And possibly worse, no sense of control.
But either way, you choose your customers. By the default of failing to filter, and taking whoever you can get with whatever budget they've got, or by consciously, consistently and intelligently filtering undesireable prospects Out and qualified prospects In.
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