Marketing for sales prospects in a crowdWhen I coach salespeople, consult with companies and speak at conferences, I’ll often ask, “Who is your market?”

Nine times out of ten, the answer I get back is “Everyone.”

Wrong answer!

No company can market effectively to everybody. And no salesperson can be efficient or effective looking for prospects everywhere.

Which means, if you want to boost your sales, you need to focus your marketing and prospecting efforts where they’ll provide you the biggest returns.

No matter how wonderful your product or service is, some people will want it more than others. No matter what you do and how you do it, some people will appreciate and value it more than others. That’s who you want to target: the people most likely to buy from you.

So, whether you’re selling to consumers, businesses or governments, define your best prospects. What do they look like? What characteristics do they share?

For instance, if your product or service is aimed at consumers, here are some demographic criteria you could use to define your target market:
• Age
• Sexsales marketing prospect demographics
• Race/ethnicity
• Religion
• Sexual orientation
• Height and weight
• Education level
• Marital/family status
• Family size
• Age of children
• Hobbies/interests
• Recreational activities
• Job status
• Profession
• Household income
• Geographic area
• Urban/suburban/rural resident
• Homeowner or renter
• Housing type (detached house, town home, condo, mobile home, etc.)
• Disabilities
• Pet ownership

Some of these criteria can be further subcategorized. For instance, pet owners can be subdivided by number of pets or type of pet owned: dogs, cats, fish, birds, etc.

If you’re marketing to businesses, consider these demographic criteria:
• Industry or profession
• Geographic areaBuilding with marketing & sales prospects
• Age of business
• Business’ target market
• Job title
• Workforce size
• Annual revenue
• Number of locations
• Franchise or independent
• Business type (manufacturing, distribution, retail, service, restaurant, etc.)

The more specifically you can define your target prospect, the more effectively you can reach them, so use as many demographic characteristics as you can.

For example, your target prospects might be overweight, single women under the age of 40 living in the Seattle metropolitan area. Or your target prospects might be male retirees living in the southwestern United States with incomes between $100,000 and $500,000. Or they might be French businesses with annual revenues under €1 million which have been in business less than two years. Or they could be female medical malpractice attorneys throughout the country.

This is not to say that these are the only people you will sell to. You may well have customers outside your target market. You may have two, or even three, distinct target markets, each with its own unique characteristics. But the more narrowly you can define your market, the more effectively you can craft a marketing message that resonates with them and the more cost-effectively you can present that message to them.

Remember too, that repetition is crucial to sales success. You have to get your message in front of your prospect numerous times before they buy from you. Which means you’ll get far better results marketing to 1,000 targeted people ten times than marketing to 10,000 random people once. If you’re a salesperson, it’s also much easier to follow up with 1,000 people than 10,000.

Whether you’re a CEO, sales manager, professional or salesperson, you only have so much time and money. You can’t afford to waste them chasing after everybody. Instead, define and pursue your best prospects: the ones who need or want you most. It’s a sure-fire way to increase your sales quickly and profitably.

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