NLP for Sales: Maybe Your Niche Isn’t What You Think It Is

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Margie had a niche – she was quite confident about that, but I wasn’t quite so sure, so I asked her, “Who is your ideal target market?”

“Single women over 30” was her instant response.

“Great, so am I your target market? – I’m single and over 30.”

“Umm … I don’t think so.”

I probed further, “What problem are you solving?  How are you solving it?  What do you do for these women over 30?”

“Well, we take care of their to-do list:-  source tradesmen, stay at home while they’re working, supervise the trades, plan parties etc.  Does that help?”

Once we boiled it down to the real problem Margie’s business solved, her niche was actually quite a bit narrower than she had imagined – easier to define and to target.  Margie also recognised that she was assuming that people would understand what she did from her business name and title – and that just wasn’t the case.

Rather than feeling angry because we hadn’t understood what she had to offer, Margie recognised that she needed to be a lot clearer when she described her services – whether that was verbally, or on her website, or in print.  She realised that she needed to add more information and stop making assumptions about what people thought she did.  Once she clarified this her business grew rapidly.

Are You Making Too Many Assumptions?

It’s so easy to make assumptions about people’s understanding of your business.  Just because they know the terminology doesn’t mean they get the concept.  It comes back to the whole idea that the meaning of the communication is the response you get. [Link to Blog #12]  If you don’t get a response it may be because you haven’t communicated well enough or it may be that the person you are talking to is not in your target market. 

If we incorrectly assume that people really know how our business can solve their problems we don’t get the opportunity to clarify and correct misconceptions.  You can test that easily enough – if one person says “That’s interesting,” and starts describing what they do when you share your elevator pitch [Link to Blog #32] the problem might be them.  If two or three people do it, then you need to take a long, hard look at what you’re saying and review your elevator pitch.

The purpose of an elevator pitch is always to attract attention and interest. Even if the person  you are talking to isn’t personally interested in what you do, they probably know someone who does.

The More Specific You Are The More Interest You’ll Attract and the Higher Your Prices Can Rise

The more specifically you identify your target market, and the problem you solve for that market, the easier you will find it to attract clients. A lot of people think that they will narrow the pool of prospects if they target a specific niche. I don’t know anyone in business who has narrowed their niche and then had trouble finding clients … on the other hand, I know a large number of generalists who have a hard time finding clients, and when they find them, have an even harder time getting them to pay the price they want to charge.

With a specific niche you can identify where your prospective clients work, where they hang out, and you can also identify other people who are not your competition, but who service the same market to partner with – this is one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways of getting new clients! It is also a way of repaying the favour to your strategic partners by sharing your clients with them.

Think about it this way: in the medical field a General Practitioner might receive $65 per patient while a specialist visit which doesn’t last much longer costs $350 or more. The former is hopefully good at curing basic problems and referring patients to specialists where necessary, the latter solves a specific problem. The extra cost is the value of his specialist knowledge and training.

Are you a specialist or a generalist?  I would encourage you to think about just how targeted you can get with your marketing and your elevator pitch.  Suddenly you will find a whole new mine of fantastic prospects.

Meta Description:  Clarifying your niche is often one of the most critical questions  you can use to take your business to the next level

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