Don’t sell to anybody.
OK, I mean don’t sell to just anybody.
You really should be careful who you invite to give you their money. The problem is every deal seems great until you actually “get married” to your prospect and they become your client. As you know many such “marriages” end up in unhappy breakups.
I’m halfway through 10 posts explaining the steps you should take to be prepared for your new sales gig. One of the key ones is to get focused on who you really want as a customer.
When you have a book of business and take a look at your customers, you will inevitably see segmentation. It’s nearly always the old Pareto situation. There are 20% of your customers that spend 80% of the money (by the way it’s still Pareto if the ratio is 10%/90% or even 11%/89% etc.)
One thing I’ve also seen in some of my business travels is that the customers that spend the least money are often the ones that make the most noise and cause the most running around/friction in the organization. Some of the companies that spend the most money on the other hand can be some of the easiest to deal with.
So guess what? Unless you’re a masochist you want more of the companies that spend a lot of money with you and are easier to deal with.
The trick of course is finding more of them.
A good start if you have a handful of clients is to try to find some commonalities in your existing clients and then go look in those places for more “somewhat ideal clients”. Some obvious characteristics to look for:
- Size of company
- Technologies used
- Other suppliers they work with
- Certain specialized roles/titles in the organization (“Chief Happiness Officer” etc.)
These are classic “demographic” characteristics. There can also be “psychographic” elements of what makes a company a good client for you. Examples of these might be:
- Organization believes in outsourcing
- Company believes in long-term partnerships
- Company likes to use the latest technologies to get an edge
- People in company open to change and learning
- People in company love soccer and ice cream (my ideal client)
When you are prospecting it’s easy to put your “prospecting goggles” on and think every company looks attractive. Try to avoid such “promiscuous prospecting”.
You will eventually ask your company to “settle down” with some of these prospects and make them clients. You want these “marriages” to work out for the long-term and for both parties to live happily ever after.