I’m no stranger to feeling tad miffed from time to time – it’s all part of the human condition! And I was properly miffed just the other day … and it’s reminded me of an important business lesson.

I did one of my talks recently and, as is my wont, I invited participants to connect with me at the end of the session, also offering one of my trademark ‘Buttkicker’ calls to anyone who was feeling stuck in their business growth. As per normal, a few people took me up on this offer.

In fact, one of the new connections went so far as to introduce me to their husband later that day, via email, suggesting that I might be able to offer some useful advice on his new business venture.

Always happy to help if I can, I replied and added the guy into my database, so that I could send him one of my ‘book a Buttkicker call with Vanessa’ emails. Sorted.

A few days later the guy replied. He was asking me to remove him from my list, as he felt that my style definitely did not chime with his. In short, he wasn’t in the mood to have his ‘arse kicked’ by me.

I was inexplicably irritated by his response. I found myself muttering ‘please yourself!’ under my breath, as I deleted his data record and email. Mutter, mutter – ‘your loss!’. You get the picture.

Like I say – I was properly miffed!

The guy did me a favour…

But after a few days it struck me that he’d done me a favour. It’s that old adage about not being able to please all the people all of the time. He wasn’t the right customer for me and I wasn’t the right mentor for him. Far better to get that sorted early on.

After all, I don’t want to please ALL of the people. I only want to please SOME local business owners who really need my help and who find that my style is absolutely right for them.

And I’m 100% OK with that. And you should be too in your business.

I’ve often asked clients who their perfect customer is … typically, B2B folk say things like ‘SMEs in Surrey & Hampshire’. One chiropractor even told me; ‘anyone with a spine!’.

It’s just too generic. Fear of missing out on the masses, means you can’t send really relevant messages to your perfect customers experiencing a specific problem, identifying their highly unique issues that you are perfectly placed to solve.

Guilty of being generic?

So, are you guilty of any of the following?

  • Are you cautious of doing anything too ‘out there’ in case you put some potential customers off?
  • Are you reluctant to commit to a super-specific niche, for fear of missing out on the masses?
  • Does your website talk in general terms, so as to appeal to most people?
  • Do you avoid case studies or highly specific social media posts and blogs, just in case people think that’s ALL that you do?
  • Do your product packages avoid highly specific features because they won’t appeal to everyone?
  • For fear of looking ‘small’, do you fail to mention that you are ‘local’ to a specific geographical area, and able to jump on their issues immediately?

A great example was a dentist that I used to work with. They were located on the High Street in a busy Surrey market town – they new they were superbly placed for normal folk going about their daily business – on the way to work, shopping, dropping the kids off at school. They also recognised that Mums (and full time Dads) tend to make dental decisions for the whole family; what works for them logistically – nearness to school, car parks, supermarket – meant that’s where the family would ALL go.

So, we decided to position the practice first and foremost as super-family friendly.

  • The pictures on the website showed a child friendly waiting room with more than the usual cursory toy corner.
  • They made a point of letting parents know that they were ‘buggy’ friendly, with a special parking pay set aside in the waiting room.
  • Staff would all make a big fuss of the kids to make their visits more fun.
  • Their language was family specific, talking about school holidays, and after school visiting times

Now, it could be that this would be a major ‘no no’ for the local accountant or bank manager whilst they slotted in a quick lunchtime dental appointment. But that’s OK; the most important thing was that the Mums, Dads – and the kids – loved it.

In my case, I know I work best with business owners who want someone to be accountable to for their business growth – they want to learn what to do and make sure they crack on and do it. They definitely DO want their ‘butts’ kicked which is why I major on my mentoring style in my marketing.

So, the question is, are you trying to appeal to everyone in your broader marketplace? Or are you making sure you specially appeal to your PERFECT customers. As they say, there’s no money in the middle.