The Coast News Group
Ask Mr. MarketingColumns

Targeting the right sales prospects

Many years ago, I met with the CEO and VP/Sales for a small western Massachusetts firm.

When I asked for the customer’s profile, the VP responded: “I’ve never gotten my arms around that question.” This explained why the company wasn’t growing.

Over 18 months we developed that profile, and the firm quintupled in size over the following two years. Such is the value of knowing to whom you are selling.

This morning’s newspaper included an insert from the American Civil Liberties Union reading, “As a reader of The Los Angeles Times, you’ve seen headline after headline about the wave of racially motivated voter-suppression efforts sweeping across our nation.”

It went on to urge me to join the ACLU, obviously drawing the conclusion that LA Times readers are well-educated and/or primarily liberal and thus good prospects for its sales efforts.

And a recent article reported northern Idaho realtors are targeting homeowners unhappy with California’s politics, encouraging them to move to more conservative areas.

Too often, high-quality marketing is in short supply these days. Setting your political leanings aside, you’ve got to respect both the ACLU and Idaho’s realtors for seeking out audiences most likely to respond to their respective sales pitches.

Odds are pretty good there’s low-hanging fruit that you can also pick, regardless of what you sell. Finding it comes from an in-depth knowledge of your customer profile, which helps determine where that sort of person congregates.

Please don’t tell me you’re too busy to figure it out. Because knowing your customer’s demographic profile (age, geography, religion, income, etc.) is critical to finding more of the same type of person.

Admittedly, at first blush your customers may not seem to have much in common, but trust me … it’s there. For example:

• If your customers are all 70+, reach them through senior centers

• If your clients are all wealthy, partner with financial planners

• If they all have dogs, you’ll find them through a veterinarian’s office

You get the idea.

Start by being observant, or perhaps sending a customer satisfaction survey that asks a few profile questions. Over time you’ll see the patterns of commonality and finding future clientele who fit the same mold will become a much easier task.

And remember the old saying; “Birds of a feather flock together.”

With that said, I wish you a week of profitable marketing.

Target your best prospects at