Have you discovered your ideal target customer?
As much as you might want to believe that your speaking or training topic will benefit everyone, the truth is, not everyone feels that way. Have you heard the expression “Jack-of-all-trades, master of none”? Most speakers and trainers fall short because they try to be all things to all people.
SMEs and MNCs realise this and spend countless hours (and dollars) discovering their ideal target customer. They realise that while some products have mass appeal, other may only appeal to a relatively small segment of the market. Therefore, your first challenge is to discover your niche. Don’t worry about excluding markets. Discovering your niche is about finding customers suited to your purpose, expertise and market trends.
The first step in detecting your niche is to consider which market best fits your life purpose. When brainstorming possible markets, it’s important to consider your level of “aliveness”, how a market fits with your values, interests and personality, as well as the impact you feel you could have on that market. On a scale of one to five, with one being “not at all” and five being “absolutely”, ask yourself the following questions:
- How passionate am I about this market?
- How in line is this industry with my values?
- Am I genuinely interested in this market?
- Does this industry allow me to be authentic?
- How great an impact could I have on this market?
There are no wrong answers here. You’re simply trying to discover which market best fits your purpose. Why is this so important? Because running your own speaking or training business can be very challenging at times. If you can discover a market that best fits your life purpose, you’re more likely to stick with it during the difficult times.
The second area to consider when identifying your ideal target customer is your expertise. It’s important to think about your natural talents, knowledge, skills, training, accomplishments and how easily you could position yourself as an expert. On a scale of one to five, with one being “not at all” and five being “absolutely”, ask yourself the following questions:
- Could my natural talents and gifts serve this market?
- Would my life experience resonate with this market?
- Could my training benefit this industry?
- Would my accomplishments resonate with this market?
- Could I easily position myself as an expert?
At the end of the day, you need to position yourself as an expert in your field. Customers want you to have experience, training and accomplishments helping people like themselves. More and more, customers are looking for specialists, not generalists. If you’re able to confidently answer YES to the questions above, you’re on your way to establishing yourself as an expert in that field.
The third area to pay attention to is trends in the market. It’s important to consider your ideal target customer’s greatest challenges and their ability to pay. You should also note the amount of competition, the size of the market and how easy it would be to reach your ideal customers. On a scale of one to five, with one being “not at all” and five being “absolutely”, ask yourself the following questions:
- Is this market actively seeking solutions to their problems?
- Does this industry have the ability to afford my rates?
- Is this an under-served segment of the market?
- Are there enough customers to sustain my business?
- Can I easily reach these customers?
Some preliminary research will give you a very good indication of the trends in the market. Finding an under-served segment of the market that is still large enough to sustain your business is important. Identifying ways to easily reach these customers through traditional and new media will be critical to your success.
Your task is to answer in writing each of the questions in this article. They’ll provide the foundation for discovering your niche and identifying your ideal target customer. Going through this exercise by considering your purpose, expertise and the needs of the market for each possible niche, should give you a good indication as to the top two or three markets you may want to research further.