So often I speak with clients and prospects and generally as a CEO, President & Owner one of their biggest concerns is growth.

In many cases they are just fishing and not hunting for new clients – not because they don’t know how to close those that stumble into their nets, but more often than not it’s because they really don’t know how to fish.

When a business gets to their so called 2nd Stage – they have some employees, a few large customers, a bookkeeper and the “Artist” that runs the business decides it’s time to hire a sales person because they just don’t have the time to do it.

Chances are they could not be more wrong.

I could share dozens of stories like this but I’ll just share one. The client was a fairly large company with over 100 employees and just a few large clients. Our goal was to diversify the client base with new product offerings and to new customer segments. The approach was just identifying a higher end client base that used similar products and services with just more “things” in the projects.

We raised the average sale from $5,500 to over $40,000. We raised the margins from just over 20% to over 30%. We added almost 7 figures of contracts to the base and had a top line increase of 14% overall.

Guess what? We didn’t make a dime.

The Service Delivery team didn’t pay attention to the details and it killed the margins. As a consultant we had no control over delivery and management’s assessment that their process was solid was really just a story they told themselves and the numbers proved those facts.

Why Am I Sharing This?

There are just three keys to finding the RIGHT customers.

We have to know what they really look like. You have to understand, at the core, what your IDEAL customer looks like and how your organization can service it. In this case we literally took the exact same product and just a fancier version. The organization just wasn’t ready.

We have to know where they ‘hang out’. In most cases your sales people are justprospecting all day instead of closing and this can be a big mistake. Your marketing messaging and funnels should help identify where they hang out because you have data and not instincts alone. Many ‘sales guys’ pursue the wrong clients because they just think they may be buyers when they don’t really know what the organizations ideal clients look like. Just think of how many people want a new BMW but if they don’t have the budget it’s just a waste of time.

We have to know how to reach them. This is likely the most difficult. Strong sales organizations focus on this aspect because they have built their ideal client profile (or avatar) and they strictly focus on that. I’m consistently amazed how many people I meet who don’t really know what they look like. If you don’t know what they look like how are you ever going to spot them?

If you think about all of the wasted time you and your team would have chasing the wrong prospects who never will be customers and focus on those who would be buyers your closing ratio will go up dramatically. It’s just a matter of using the storytelling concept of marketing and using you and your teams expertise to draw in the right clients.

The right clients buy from experts when they are ready to buy – not when you are ready to sell.

So next time you think about growth – think about these three things. It’s the same reason I don’t fish for Grouper in the lake behind my house. No matter how bad I want to catch one there – it’s NEVER going to happen.

HAPPY FRIDAY! Now go sell something!