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May 2005

Prospecting for Gold
Tips for Finding the Ideal Customer

MSW Interactive Designs LLC
Serving Clients Nationwide

720 A Street NE : Washington DC, 20002
Toll Free: 877.211.5492
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By Gretchen Sherrill
Director of Business Development

As part of our continuing series on small business marketing, we explore the ongoing search for new customers and offer smarter search strategies.


Who is your customer?

Anyone! You offer something for everyone, right?

Wrong Answer. If your customer is everyone, that's as good as no one.

Small businesses cannot be all things to all people due to size and resource limitations. Besides, the big businesses already widely promote that 'all things to all people' marketing strategy. The strength of small business is filling a specific need in a special way that that the mega businesses cannot offer. A niche business logically has a niche customer. We challenge you to determine who is and who is NOT your ideal customer.

Smart Prospecting
The traditional prospector used a sieve as a filter to shake out the unwanted silt revealing the sought after precious gems and nuggets. As a small business owner (and prospector for customers), create a custom sieve that filters out the fools gold clients.

Fool's Gold
Be a prospector that works smarter, not harder and adopt the belief that some customers are not worth it (yes, really) . Consider the following "flaws" when prospecting for new business:

  • Customers who can't afford you— don't sacrifice your time and effort for someone who doesn't want to compensate you for what your service or product is worth
  • Customers who don't listen to you—a rocky relationship fraught with misunderstandings will follow
  • Customers who don't agree with you—as the small business professional you are the expert in the field

The above "fool's gold" customers will require MUCH work and yield little, if any, satisfaction.

Striking It Rich
Learn to recognize those diamonds in the rough. Consider all your customers, past and present. Who are your top 5 or 10?
Why did you enjoy working with these customers? Do these customers have anything in common?

Use the answers to these questions to improve your custom-sieve and define your IDEAL client. Go prospecting for the REAL gems, just like them and reap the rewards of smart customer growth.

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