In the UK there are 689,890 companies, 190,978 of them meet the EU definition of an SME and so, theoretically, they could be my target market, bearing in mind my company name.
In reality the vast majority of them I will not be able to help. This is why you will rarely hear the word “anyone” uttered when I’m networking or asking clients for referrals. Why is it, therefore, that so many business owners believe they can sell their services to anyone?
The problem with anyone is that it is simply too wide a scope and what happens is that you end up with no-one being referred to you.
A chiropractor said to me, at a networking event recently, I can help anyone with a spine. Whilst this may be true, it doesn’t help me help them. I’m not going to mention them to everyone I know with a spine.
I need, and so will all your clients and connections, a little more to go on. Have you seen the latest eHarmony advert where they show a man on a couch with a camel? The advert goes on to say they were matched because of two matching criteria, but eHarmony uses more to ensure a good match.
You should use the same approach when asking for referrals. After all if 438 couples get married every day after being matched on eHarmony, they must be getting something right.
Whilst I am not suggesting you have 29 levels of compatibility with your clients, you must make it easier for people to refer you. Give them more information: industry sector, geography, company size, job title and, most definitely, reasons why.
The good thing about getting this pinned down is it also helps you work out what marketing to do, but I’ll talk about that next time!
 LinkedIn; as of 13/1/15