📄 How to practically guarantee abject business failure

Over the past few years, I’ve conducted hundreds of interviews with all kinds of business owners. 

This in function of market research, and establishing product-market fit, for a number of offers, both for my own business and that of clients and partners.

And what I find over and over again (honestly, it’s so prevalent it’s not even funny):

Hardly anyone has a proper definition of their ideal client. 

Call it segment, or niche, or avatar or ICP:

There’s a particular, very specific type of client, who is absolutely ideal for you - and you for them.

They show up on time, they don’t haggle, they do their homework, they repeatedly purchase from you, they refer their friends, they get tremendous benefit from your service or product…

In short, it’s a match made in heaven. 

And, logically, if you’d direct all your marketing and sales efforts to exactly that type of person, you set yourself up for the most attainable, and the fastest possible, growth. 

Except most people don’t seek out clients with that kind of precision. Most people don't actually, with precision, know, who is their exact avatar. (Also see: 📄 5 Core points you have to get right if you want your business to grow)

Whenever I ask “Who is your ideal client?”, far too often, the reply is broad, vague, and non-specific. 

Developers! Coaches! Small to medium businesses! Leadership teams! Authors! Those are my people!

Yeah, but no. That way you'll quickly away fritter all your time, energy, money and enjoyment, and yes you increase your risk of staying stuck or even failing.

If the specifity of your ideal customer doesn’t go deeper than a broad descriptor, you’ll get very little, and very unsatisfying, returns on all the time and money you invest in your business. 

Whereas if you get super specific and hyper-focused on just a very small subset of a subset of that descriptor, then you’ll see very interesting and rewarding returns. 

Because once you have a perfectly detailed description of your perfect and ideal buyer, you’ll know exactly what their lingo is, how they think, what they struggle with, what their goals are. 

And that will enable you to create messaging that speaks directly, with utter precision, to exactly the way their mind works. 

You’ll show up, with your messaging and value proposition, and the potential client will go “Huh, this is exactly for people like me. Tell me more”. 

And that is something you’ll never achieve if your definition of a perfect client is broad and general. 

And of course, I know you don’t want to miss out on opportunities. That's exactly why people tend to have too broad a definition.

And yes, if someone shows up who’s different from your ideal buyer, and they’re qualified for getting the outcomes you sell, then of course you should let them buy your thing. 

Working with a specific avatar doesn't mean excluding everyone who doesn't fit your precise description - it simply means turning your focus, attention and energy on those who do.

You aim narrow, but you welcome wide.

So you create branding, postitioning, and a value proposition and narrative that are exceedingly specific to your ideal buyer

That way, the ideal buyer will click with your messaging, and also:

Those who are slightly different will recognise your specialisation, appreciate your professionalism, and a lot of them will ask: “Can you help people like me, as well?”

And that’s something that just won’t happen, if you show up looking like you’re for everyone. 

Tired of hagglers, stalled deals, and getting ghosted?

You're not alone: everyone who sells faces that. Subscribe for a short daily email, and get better at selling every day.

Bonus: Instant download of the 📈 SFC Pipeline Habit Scorecard 👇

Need some help?

Send a message to Martin