The Power of Your Personal Target Audience

By Jeff Beals

Whether you’re in Atlanta or Austin, San Diego or San Antonio, Kansas City or Salt Lake City, shopping malls and retail centers generally look alike.  The products, displays, signage and building architecture are so uniform that it’s hard to tell whether you’re in New Orleans or New York.

There’s a reason for that.  Malls are carefully designed for a specific reason and for carefully targeted retail consumers.

Studies have shown that women make the vast majority of purchases, so women make up a huge part of a retailer’s “target market” or “target audience,” a group of people with shared characteristics that make a person more likely to buy a certain product or service.  Women with higher household incomes usually make more and larger purchases, so income would be another critical characteristic for a retail target audience.  Education, age and cultural aspects are also considered when a company determines its target audience.

Women purchase 70 percent of all books sold.  Given that, Barnes & Noble is probably more concerned about women than men.  It only makes sense to focus your marketing resources on the segment of the population that’s most inclined to buy what you purvey.  People buy more during certain periods of their lives; that’s why advertisers are obsessed with 25-to-54-year-olds.

Of course, not all marketing is geared toward women.  News-talk radio stations target men.  Video games target teenage boys.  You don’t see many beer commercials going after female drinkers.

Whatever business you’re in, you figure out what segment of the world is most important and you zero in on that group.

While it takes work to identify all the specific characteristics a company considers in the makeup of its target audience, it’s an essential endeavor. Having a target audience not only makes money, it’s liberating.

Think about it – the world is a big place. Billions of people are alive today.  The thought of marketing to all of them is staggering, but fortunately, marketers focus on niches, narrow slices of the population. The trick is to identify the appropriate slice.

The same thing applies when marketing yourself, for you are a product. You are a brand.  You need a “personal” target audience. 

In order to promote yourself effectively, you must become a celebrity in your own “sphere of interest.” Every professional has a sphere of interest. It’s your own narrow slice of the population. It’s your very own personal target audience. It’s comprised of those people, who in any way, can help you reach your goals – clients, prospective clients, those who refer clients, someone who could hire you, someone who could get you on a coveted committee or board.

Among these people, you need to be famous. When someone in your personal target audience needs the services or products you provide, your name and face should pop into their minds. When someone is looking for people to invite to a special occasion, your name needs to be at the top of the list. You are a highly desired person in your community or industry when a large number of people in your personal target audience have heard of you.

But before you can become a celebrity, you need to determine who is in your personal target audience. This is determined by your career, life mission, goals and personality.

Once you know who is in your personal target audience, manage it carefully. Just like a company managing its prospective clients, you as an individual must diligently manage your personal target audience and lavish attention upon it. The people in your personal target audience are precious, critical to your success.

If you tend to your personal target audience, it will yield positive results and help you achieve greater personal and professional success.

Now that we have established this, it’s time to think about your personal target audience. What types of people need to know about you? Where are they? How do you reach them?

There may be billions of people in today’s loud and crowded marketplace, but it’s comforting to know that you can become famous enough by chasing only a minuscule percentage of them. In order to get your message to connect with the right niche, think about what you do and who is in your personal target audience.

Jeff Beals is a professional speaker and award-winning author, who helps professionals enjoy greater success through effective sales, marketing and personal branding techniques. He delivers energetic and humorous keynote speeches and workshops to audiences worldwide. To discuss booking a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or email at info@jeffbeals.com or call us at (402) 637-9300.

Click here to subscribe to Jeff’s weekly articles!http://bit.ly/1l86RC6

Click here to see sample videos of Jeff speaking to live audiences!  http://bit.ly/1gZqcoA

402-637-9300

We Want Vince! How to Enlist the Help of Others in Your Sales Efforts

By Jeff Beals

[Note: This week’s “Sales Shape-Up” is an excerpt from the author’s book, Selling Saturdays: Blue Chip Sales Tips from College Football, which uses the recruitment of star athletes as a metaphor for selling products and services in any industry.]

As you search for innovative ways to make an impression and let your prospects know they are special, you might want to employ the efforts of others. Your clients, fans and champions out in the business community can play a huge role as you market to new prospects.

Because of strict National College Athletic Association recruiting rules, college football teams have to be careful about orchestrating recruiting efforts by fans and boosters, but it is perfectly fine if those efforts happen without the direct involvement of the school.

Because fans follow football recruiting so closely on the Internet, they tend to know a great deal about the youngsters their favorite football teams are recruiting. That means they usually know when prospective players are visiting campus especially if it’s game day. It is fairly common at big-time football schools for fans to introduce themselves to the prospects, welcome them to campus and hold up signs imploring them to say “yes.”

Spontaneous adoration from 15,000 fans helped Tim Brewster land one of the nation’s biggest football recruits when he was an assistant coach at the University of Texas in late 2001. That’s when he was engaged in a tremendous battle to recruit an all-everything blue-chip high school player from inner-city Houston by the name of Vince Young.

Brewster starting tracking Young when he was a high school sophomore and worked hard to build a strong relationship with him.

During an on-campus visit in Austin, Brewster and Young were about to take in a Longhorn basketball game. Before the game, coach and prospect talked one-on-one downstairs in the bowels of the Frank Erwin Center, the University of Texas sports arena. To give Young a taste of the campus buzz, Brewster took his prized recruit upstairs so he could walk on the court and take in the pre-game atmosphere.

Immediately, upon stepping on the basketball floor, rabid UT fans recognized Young. The news whipped through the arena quickly. The crowd started chanting, “We want Vince! We want Vince!”

Brewster was blown away by the sudden public adoration.  He walked Young back downstairs where the recruit turned to Brewster, tears streaming down his face, and said, “This is where I need to be. I’m a Longhorn.”

Young starred at Texas, achieving All-American honors and leading the team to its only Associated Press national championship in a 45-year span.

While you might not be able to convince 15,000 people to chant your prospect’s name, and in most selling situations that would be rather weird, remember you are not necessarily alone.  Incorporate others in your selling efforts as appropriate in order to make a more powerful impression on your future clients.

Jeff Beals is a professional speaker and award-winning author, who helps professionals enjoy greater success through effective sales, marketing and personal branding techniques. He delivers energetic and humorous keynote speeches and workshops to audiences worldwide. To discuss booking a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or email at info@jeffbeals.com or call us at (402) 637-9300.

Click here to subscribe to Jeff’s weekly articles!http://bit.ly/1l86RC6

Click here to see sample videos of Jeff speaking to live audiences!  http://bit.ly/1gZqcoA

402-637-9300

Unambiguous Communication Earns You the Most Respect

By Jeff Beals

I was reading a newspaper article about urban planning a couple days ago and came across this term: “continuous low-density polycentric urban formations.”

Sounds impressive but what does it mean?  The answer is actually simple: “urban sprawl.”

Anyone who lives in a major U.S. metro area knows what urban sprawl is.  You hear the word and immediately conjure up images of traffic jams and endless suburban development.  The term was coined back in the 1950s.  Most people experience urban sprawl every time they drive to work!  Isn’t it much easier to say “urban sprawl” than “continuous low-density polycentric urban formations?”

Of course it is, but it’s not as impressive sounding.

In fairness, this academically imposing term was used in an exhibit at the Yale University architecture school, meaning it was intended for people who actually know what “continuous low-density polycentric urban formations” means.  Nevertheless, we often and quite unnecessarily use complex phrases to describe that which can be expressed in simpler terms.

Regardless of your profession, communication is probably the most essential thing you do on any given day.  It’s easy to fall into the corporate jargon or academic gibberish trap in order to sound intelligent around other accomplished people.  Try to resist that temptation.  Over the course of time, those people who communicate using the clearest, most unambiguous terms are the ones who are ultimately most respected.

Jeff Beals is a professional speaker and award-winning author, who helps professionals enjoy greater success through effective sales, marketing and personal branding techniques. He delivers energetic and humorous keynote speeches and workshops to audiences worldwide. To discuss booking a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or email at info@jeffbeals.com or call us at (402) 637-9300.

Click here to subscribe to Jeff’s weekly articles!http://bit.ly/1l86RC6

Click here to see sample videos of Jeff speaking to live audiences!  http://bit.ly/1gZqcoA

402-637-9300

A Violation of Trade Show Etiquette

By Jeff Beals

Our company hosted a booth at a large business-to-business trade show today. Thousands of people passed through the aisles and many of them stopped by our booth.  Several of our employees took turns staffing the booth, giving them the chance to meet new people and reconnect with familiar faces.

B2B trade shows are a good chance to network and prospect but not necessarily the place where you’re going to do a lot of hard-core deal-making.

Unfortunately, some people don’t quite understand that.

I personally staffed the booth from 8:30 to 10:00 this morning.  At one point, a very nice (but clueless) woman approached me and introduced herself.  She was professionally dressed and had a pleasant demeanor.

But then things quickly went downhill.

Immediately upon introducing herself, she launched into a breathless litany of her product’s features and benefits.  She went on and on.  I probably only heard every third for fourth word, because I was so utterly uninterested.

It was diarrhea of the mouth, a vocal assault of meaningless features and benefits.

I listened for a while waiting for her to break her verbal cadence, giving me the narrow window I needed to end the conversation.  Finally, she took a breath. I immediately tried the “give-me-your-card-and-I’ll-keep-in-you mind” trick, but to no avail.  On and on she went, regurgitating features and alleged benefits.

I felt trapped.  The booth was my cage and she was the captor. I was cornered with nowhere to go and no option but to stand there and take it.  For a fleeting moment I looked around the booth in vain for a can of gasoline and a match – surely she would stop if I lit myself on fire.

Eventually, someone else walked up to the booth.  I excused myself and said I had to talk to the new person.

Freedom!

Our company exhibits at that trade show every year, and every year the above scenario happens. Several times!  I’m amazed that sales people still behave this way despite all the energy we sales consultants expend helping professionals sell more effectively.

Exhibitors pay a lot of money to rent a booth and display their goods and services at trade shows.  It has always rubbed me the wrong way when people who don’t have a booth go up to everyone else and use in-your-face selling tactics on the exhibitors who are there to meet their own prospective clients.

More importantly, no selling of any kind works when you have not taken the time to figure out what the prospect values.

The hapless saleswoman did not appear to care what I valued.  She asked me not a single question.  She just talked at Gatling-gun pace.

As has often been said, people love to buy but they hate to be sold to.  This advice certainly applies to trade shows and other networking events.  Successful sales people consider the audience and the environment before deciding how to approach new people.  At first, the goal is to build rapport and start to learn what a prospect values.

Be patient.

Letting the process play out the way it is supposed to gives you the time you need to work your magic.  When you jump in too soon, you alienate prospects and you become the person that people avoid when they see you walking down the trade-show aisle.

Jeff Beals is a professional speaker and award-winning author, who helps professionals enjoy greater success through effective sales, marketing and personal branding techniques. He delivers energetic and humorous keynote speeches and workshops to audiences worldwide. To discuss booking a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or email at info@jeffbeals.com or call us at (402) 637-9300.

Click here to subscribe to Jeff’s weekly articles!http://bit.ly/1l86RC6

Click here to see sample videos of Jeff speaking to live audiences!  http://bit.ly/1gZqcoA

402-637-9300

 

You Can Find Opportunity in This Era of Cluttered Communication

By Jeff Beals

“The Times They Are a-Changin'” wrote singer-songwriter Bob Dylan in 1964.

If Dylan and his listeners were impressed with the pace of change 50 years ago, they surely would not believe how fast things are changing now.  Rapidly evolving communication technology and rapidly expanding marketing channels are changing the way businesses and individual professionals communicate.

According to global media services agency ZenithOptimedia, 2014 is expected to be the year in which money spent on internet advertising will exceed the combined amount spent on printed newspapers and magazines.

The rise of internet-based commerce has been meteoric. After all, it really wasn’t all that long ago when we didn’t even have the internet let alone the powerhouse marketing platform that the internet is today.

The increasing power and influence of internet-based marketing does not necessary mean that print media have done a bad job or are about to go extinct.  On the contrary, print media are still very important and relevant.

Rather than a damning referendum on old media, the rise of internet marketing shows just how fragmented media today have become.  We now live in the loudest and most cluttered marketplace in human history.  So many messages compete for your attention.  We have unprecedented access to information, both journalistic and commercial.

These changes can be both good and bad depending on your point of view.  If you make your living selling advertising for traditional media it can be quite concerning.  That said, many established media companies have adapted quite well by adding high-quality digital platforms to complement their traditional ones.

If you are a company or person looking to get your message across, you now have a lot of choices.  On the other hand, all the clutter in the communication environment means it is harder now for your message to be noticed than it was in the past.

What are the secrets to success in a more fragmented, cluttered and loud marketplace?

1.   Be disciplined and assertive in your communication efforts

2.   Go back to the fundamentals of good communication

In today’s marketplace, you must constantly put forth messages in a variety of media – a mix of social media, internet news media and traditional media. Furthermore, the effort must be constantly sustained.  You can’t take a day off.  Worthwhile and attention-getting messages must spring forth constantly.

More importantly, the quality of the message matters more than how you release that message.  In other words, the medium used to communicate with your target audience is just that – a medium.  Whether you are using the phone, direct mail, newspapers, television, radio, email-based marketing, blogs, podcasts, social media engagement, door-to-door salesmen or carrier pigeons, the product or service must stand on its own merit.  The message must be compelling on its own merit. Fundamentals matter.  If your product has a viable market, it will sell.

I don’t fear changes in communication technology; I embrace them.  As a person who has messages to convey and services to sell, the more communication channels I have, the better.

I derive great value out of social media and other internet-based forms of communication, but I love traditional media too.  After all, many of my articles are published in paper-based periodicals, and I have been hosting a terrestrial radio show for 10 years.

Regardless of the medium and where we might be at any given point in technological history, human beings are essentially the same.  They make decisions based on what they value and do business with individuals and organizations they trust.

Sure it takes more work, and in many cases more staffing hours, to prepare messages for new media that pop up.  But new communications vehicles open the possibility of reaching new people.

Jeff Beals is a professional speaker and award-winning author, who helps professionals enjoy greater success through effective sales, marketing and personal branding techniques. He delivers energetic and humorous keynote speeches and workshops to audiences worldwide. To discuss booking a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or email at info@jeffbeals.com or call us at (402) 637-9300.

Click here to subscribe to Jeff’s weekly articles!http://bit.ly/1l86RC6

Click here to see sample videos of Jeff speaking to live audiences!  http://bit.ly/1gZqcoA