When I first started my own business development coaching practice, I started with a broad target market. My next step was to narrow my target market down a bit to focus on business leaders and entrepreneurs. My final iteration was to narrow my niche down to financial services professionals. This process was huge for me, and I would like to share with you how to take the principals I used and apply them to your own business to help you excel at your own game.
Like me, most people start out in the general branding, general networking, general everything mode. Over time they learn what (and who) they want to focus on, and narrow their niche until their focus is on their ideal client, without wasting energy on attracting prospects who do not fit that profile.
Want to fast track the process of taking your own game to the next level? The first set of core points I will focus on are: branding, networking, and follow through.
1/ The key to excelling at your branding is to be clear, confident, and consistent about your specialization. Say your ideal client is women business owners; that would mean you would ideally only market to, network with, and meet with prospects who fit this profile. Many financial services professionals who are not yet confident and consistent in their strategy (and expected results from that strategy) often stray outside their ideal client profile with their marketing efforts.
Some people are confused by this advice and worry about narrowing their niche too much. They may push back with that mantra that “all business is good business.” While that can be true at the very beginning of your business when you’re looking to generate any kind of revenue to support yourself while you’re getting up to speed, it can get more complicated as you advance in your practice and strategy. If someone outside your target market is attracted to working with you, you can feel free to meet with them to determine if working together is a fit and won’t take you off course with your business model. It’s important to stay true to your focus throughout your branding and marketing strategy, such as accepting speaking engagements that get you in front of your target audience (and declining those that aren’t in alignment). If you’re ready to truly excel at your own game, you must maintain focus in your branding and marketing.
2/ The key to excelling at networking is relatively simple: spend time in the pond where you most want to catch a fish. Say you want to target executives, then you would only want to network at events designed for executives and not attend others outside this area of focus. This will considerably free up your time to focus on what you can do to get yourself in front of solely your ideal client. This is as much about being in front of the right people as not being in front of others who aren’t a good fit. Spend your networking time with those you want to serve, and not people who are outside your target market. I invite you to ask yourself: how much of your networking time are you spending in front of your target market, and how much is spent in front of other people who don’t fit that profile? Now is the time to optimize your strategy for success!
3/ The key to excelling at follow through is to take the lead in following up with prospects — immediately. Don’t assume that if someone says they’ll call you that they will. Regardless of whether or not someone said they would call you, I recommend getting their business card and information and that you take the lead to reach out to engage initially. To be honest, if I had waited for everyone to call me who said they would call me, I’d be out of business!Everyone you meet is busy and may or may not remember to reach out, regardless of how interested they initially indicated. (Many people have a limiting belief about taking the lead to follow up that they will look desperate or that it’s not good business practice, though it’s actually the opposite.) It’s crucial that you take the lead with your ideal client and prospects if you want to take your game up to the next level.
Does the idea of sharpening the saw and improving your game resonate with you? If so, I would love to speak with you. I invite you to reach out to me today: firstname.lastname@example.org
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