sales discriminationI recently read about a restaurant in Alexandria, Virginia called The Sushi Bar. Even before it opened, it received a lot of publicity for an unusual reason: The restaurant bans all children 18 and under.

Owner Mike Anderson wanted to create a dining experience that would enable adults to eat without children around. He envisioned a place that would give parents a break from their kids and would be a perfect “date night” destination for couples.

Naturally the policy has generated a storm of controversy, with many parents decrying the “discriminating” approach and vowing never to eat there.

Others, however, have heartily supported Anderson, both vocally and by packing the restaurant nightly.

Because not only are the food and service terrific, but because the restaurant discriminates.

Discrimination isn’t always illegal. And it isn’t always wrong. Curves is a women-only gym. Retirement communities only allow residents above a certain age. Hooters doesn’t hire men to work as wait staff. Numerous vacation resorts around the world are “adults-only.”

What do all these businesses have in common?

They each create a distinctive experience, one that is different from their competitors.

Keep in mind that the word “discriminate” also means “to distinguish” or “differentiate.”

So how are you distinguishing yourself, your company or your product? How do you differentiate from your competition? And how are you discriminating among your potential customers?

Because you can’t be all things to all people. To be successful, you need to be the ideal solution for your ideal customer. Which means you need to have a clear idea of who your ideal customer is:

• What are they like?
• Where are they?
• What do they want?
• How are they motivated?
• What are their problems?
• How much will they spend?
• What are their values?

Being the ideal choice for your ideal customer means being an unappealing choice for those who aren’t. If you want your ideal prospects to say “yes” to you, you need to say “no” to others.

So who are you willing to say “no” to?