DO YOU KNOW WHO HIRES YOU?
Every 6 to 12 months I go through a little exercise that YOU should go through too. I pull ALL my prospects (including everyone who has been referred to me, whether I’ve done consultations with them or not…and DEFINITELY those I’ve done consultations with, whether they hired me or not) AND ALL my clients from the previous 6-12 months.
Then I look for patterns, and I start with the obvious:
A. Are they men or women?
B. What age range?
C. What professions are they in, and for how long?
D. What do I know about the size of their businesses and of their personal incomes?
E. Who referred them to me or how did they find me?
If you ask yourself these questions as you look at an ACTUAL LIST, things will jump out at you immediately. Write them down. On paper.
Let me say this—and say it loudly and firmly—you CANNOT do this exercise in your head. You CANNOT try to remember who your prospects and clients have been over 6-12 months and expect to come up with ANYTHING resembling the truth. You think you can, but you can’t Trust me on this. I’ve run the experiment on myself AND with my clients. What I find is true 100% of the time is that what you THINK is true is based on one of two things:
First, what has happened most recently, or
Second, what has happened that left the most lasting impression.
In other words, if you have had 100 new clients and 100 additional prospects in the past year, and you try to do this in your head, you may make a mistake like these:
- About 8 of the last 10 clients were young women referred by your financial advisor, so you think you should be targeting young women and/or buttering up your financial advisor; or
- In the past 3 weeks, you’ve had 2 clients giving you an absolute headache by disputing charges and generally being a pain in the ass, and you realize they’re all young women referred by your financial advisor, so you think you get a lot of problem clients from your financial advisor and decide to STOP focusing on young women and/or referrals from your financial advisor; or
- You failed to close the past two consultations or sales conversations, and they both happened to be young women, but today you closed a new client who is a seasoned man, and it was soooo smooth you’re thinking, I need more referrals like that–men who are older and more mature.
I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that your memory is better than everyone else’s and you don’t need to look at a list. YOU can be objective.
BUT YOU CAN’T. TRUST ME ON THIS.
So pull an ACTUAL list and look at it. NO…really LOOK AT IT.
And write down what you notice. Go back to the A-E list above.
EVERYTHING you notice IS important: gender, age, profession, and basic demographics all give you a starting place for marketing that will be more targeted and yield a higher ROI (return on investment).
If you don’t know what to do with that demographic information, we should probably talk. Anyone with moderate experience in marketing can help you create more targeted campaigns, and those of us with LOTS of experience (because we are older more seasoned) can give you VERY good advice on tactics and strategies most likely to increase revenue.
I do this exercise regularly, and you know what I noticed over a period of a few years? That a LOT of men hire me. In fact, on average, 80% of the clients I have at any given time are men. And more than 50% of the prospects I convert to paying clients are men.
So guess what I did? YEP, I decided to target a group of people who are attracted to me professionally and who value my services at the rate I charge–MEN.
It’s more complicated than that, of course. There are particular types of men in particular professions who are more drawn to me than others. My marketing language and strategies take several layers of information into consideration.
But the message here is two-fold:
Number 1: If you’re wondering why my marketing is suddenly gender-specific, well…now you know why. By the way, will I take on a female client? YES, if she is a great fit. The right clients will find me regardless of their gender, so I don’t need to worry about my marketing shutting people out. (Confused about whether this would be a problem for you if you try to narrow down your target market? Call me.)
Number 2: If you haven’t done this exercise recently—or EVER—it’s time. And when you get the results and are unsure of what to do next, call me. I can help you. Especially if you’re a man! 🙂
photo credit: 2013 Esri International User Conference – San Diego, CA via photopin (license)