One of the by-products of the Internet in general, and social media specifically is that it gives the illusion that you can be connected with 100,000 people.
That somewhere out there is a market for your business that consists of 10,000 or 20,000 or 1,000,000…They’re out there floating in the abyss.
And that’s the problem.
Yes, the large market is probably out there for you, but the question is, where? Or put differently, out of the 12 Facebook groups you’re “networking” in, who are the prospects?
Out of your 2500+ LinkedIn connections, how can you tell who you should focus on?
Today we’re going to tackle this problem of the large market, and how it distracts you from a simpler way of making progress.
To do that, we’re going to cover three things:
First, we’re going to deal with why you want 10,000 prospects, and why you don’t need them.
Second, I’m going to show you how to remove the “cloak of invisibility” from the market, and finally identify prospects by name.
And third, we’re going to uncover the secret “juju” of the Target 100.
Ready? Let’s go…
Why You Don’t Need 10,000 Prospects
Pick your number—1,000, 2,500, 10,000–it doesn’t much matter. I had a business owner brag to me last week that he’d gotten his LinkedIn connections up to 2500–fandamntastic!
Which ones are real prospects?
Great question, he had no idea. The problem is that when you have a mass of 2500 people it’s too much to try and sort out. So you just start randomly posting and sending stuff, and leaving voicemails to see if you can “be of service.”
No relationship = no opportunity.
None of this works very well because you don’t have a relationship with the person on the other end. We call it “social” media, but it’s still just cold calling.
And if you’ve fallen into this trap, know you’re not alone. We made the mistake ourselves. Thinking that if we just “go big” that the law of large numbers will kick-in and we’ll be OK.
And, it does kick in and you can get results. But in our experience, it’s a hard way to solve a simple problem.
Most of the businesses we talk to would be thrilled to add 1-5 new clients each month. Most will keep a good client for months and often years. So adding a few each month leads to consistent, manageable, compound growth.
You don’t need 10,000 “suspects” or connections or followers to create the kind of growth that would delight most business owners.
But you do need some number of real people that you’re building real relationships with.
So how do we go from the great anonymous masses to building relationships with the right people? Let’s look at that next…
Unmasking Your Market – How to remove the cloak of invisibility so you know your prospects by name
Early in my marketing career, I worked with a group of financial advisors. I used to joke that their definition of their market had just two qualities—a good prospect is anyone with a heartbeat and a wallet. I still use that (and it still gets laughs), but it points out an important problem.
For those financial advisors, selling in a local community, they could go to the supermarket and everyone they passed on every aisle was a prospect by that definition.
Yet, were all of those shoppers really prospects?
You know the answer. No, they were not. Some had some money, but not enough. Some already had an advisor. Some didn’t believe in financial planning. And others simply wouldn’t buy because they didn’t like that particular advisor.
So having these broad definitions, and big groups of essentially anonymous prospects isn’t very helpful.
The trick is making your prospects “visible.”
If you’ve ever played “Where’s Waldo” you know how difficult it can be to pick the right person out of the crowd. They blend in. It’s almost impossible to see them. So how do we pick them out?
Actually, we pull them out. We separate them from the crowd. We keep them over here, where we can keep an eye on them and give them special attention. And, we can only do that with a few. Certainly not thousands.
That’s the trick to this whole concept of prospecting. Pulling out the real prospects and keeping them separate. Which brings me to the secret “ju-ju” of the Target 100.
The Secret “Juju” of the Target 100
It’s very likely that if you’ve read many business books you’ve heard this idea before. It’s been written about by Chet Holmes. By my client and NYT bestselling author Roxanne Emmerich. In various forms by Dan Kennedy, Dan Sullivan, Joe Polish, and a long list of others—the point is, it’s not new. Yet, I RARELY see a business implement it. ?
The Target 100 is just as the name implies—the 100 prospects you’re targeting now.
I’ve wondered why so few implement it and I think the fundamental reason is that when you commit to market to 50 or 100 or 250 (the exact number doesn’t matter), you risk being rejected by a few real people. When you’re going after the 10,000 person anonymous crowd, that pressure is diminished.
Yet, the focus is what allows you to build real relationships with this smaller group of people over time. Relationships that can support commerce.
And let’s be honest. Some people are thick-headed. It can take time to break through to them. Often, that’s a filter they put in place to see who’s got the perseverance to keep showing up.
The Target 100 helps you keep the focus on the prospects that matter most right now.
And, as you’re reading this I know what you’re thinking…
“I don’t know how to pick. Who would I put on my list and how do I know they are the best prospects?”
“Even if I make my list. There’s someone out there who could be my #101 or #151 or whatever. Now I’m missing out on connecting with them.”
The truth is, you’re already missing out on all 100 (and more) because you’re not doing much to create depth of relationship. And yes, it can be hard to decide who to put on the list. The good news—if you write in pencil, erasers are cheap. If you find that you omit someone great, just add them. And, if you find that you added a dud—use the eraser (it’s liberating ?).
There you have it. Now go build your list. And, stay tuned for next week’s podcast, where I’ll talk about how to communicate with your Target 100 so that you create those all-important relationships.