The “Who” of What You Do


Article by Donna FeldmanWhen was the last time you received a referral, a good referral, from someone in your network? If you answered “never” or “not recently,” it could be that the people in your network don’t know the “who” of what you do. To help people refer business to you, they need to know not just what you do, but also who you do it for. Who are your ideal clients?

We often hear people say that if they make their target market or client definition too narrow, they will end up losing business. In fact, the opposite is true. If your description is too broad or generic, no one knows for sure who to send to you. So they either send no one, or worse yet, they send anyone and everyone, and you end up wasting a lot of time chasing referrals that aren’t good prospects for you.

When you have a specific target market, and tell the people in your network about it, it helps them narrow down who they refer to you.

A realtor who says he works with anyone who is looking to buy or sell a home is making too broad a statement. You might refer a first-time home buyer with little money when the realtor’s market is actually people buying homes in the multimillion-dollar range.

Or what about someone who says she builds websites for business owners? That’s still too broad. Does she mean new business owners with limited budgets? Any small business owner? What if she said she builds websites for owners of online storefronts who are looking to increase their web visibility and online sales? Would you be able to recognize a prospect for that business if you met one? Possibly, and, she could narrow that description even more.

If you can describe your ideal client in detail, along with the problems and challenges they face, people in your network will find it much easier to identify a good prospect for you.

Here are a few questions to help narrow your market description:

  • Are your ideal clients individuals, small businesses, or corporations?
  • For individuals, what gender? Age? Annual income? Education? Profession? Interests? Geographic location?
  • For businesses or corporations, what size? Annual revenue? Number of employees? Years in business? Local? Regional? National or international? Industry?

Start telling people in your network who your ideal clients are and see if you notice a difference in the quality of your referrals. We think you will.

This article was co-authored by Donna Feldman and Cindy Rold. Donna and Cindy are The Networking Gurus.

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