This is the fourth in a series of what has changed in customer perceptions and resultant buying behaviors.

Change #4 – A Mass of Niches has Replaced the Mass Market

Trying to be all things to all people and attempting to reach them with a shotgun approach in today’s fragmented marketplace puts your career and your business in jeopardy.  This has been illustrated by some of the largest corporations in the world.  Think General Motors, K-Mart, DHL, Xerox, Kodak, and hundreds of others.  With a lack of focus on niche markets, they put themselves and their employees at risk.  One of the many brilliant examples of niche or segment focus is IBM.  They have organized their entire marketing, sales, and support efforts by distinct market sectors or niches.

The same success IBM has had can hold true for you as a sales professional or business owner.  Your objective should be to focus on specific niches or groups of people within your marketing area.  This will allow you to focus on the prospects and build the quality relationships with them necessary to gain favorable access.  Unfortunately, though, when you talk to the average sales professional or business owner and ask “Who is your customer?” or “What is your market?” most respond, “The whole world is my market; we deal with pretty much everybody.”  While it’s true that we now operate in a global economy or world market, taking a whole world approach to marketing and prospecting is not the way to penetrate it successfully.  That kind of approach demonstrates to customers that you are trying to be all things to all people at a time when they want to do business with people who relate to and specialize in people like them.

Most sales professionals and business owners skip from market to market to market, jumping from prospect to prospect.  Even though it increases overhead, there is a strong tendency to do this because it worked in the past.  However, today the mass market no longer exists.  Rather it is a mass of niches, vertical, or target markets.  What the most successful people do, is focus on specific niche or target markets and then work those markets deep.

A lack of focus not only increases your frustration as a sales professional or business owner, it reduces your effectiveness as a marketer.  By focusing on specific niche or target markets, you can know and understand the target buyer better and position yourself effectively right where they are.

If you’re spreading yourself all over the market, you’re diffusing your energy and you’re not burning through the clutter that prevents buyers in the marketplace from knowing about you and buying from you.  Gaining focus means uncovering hidden markets and relational marketing opportunities within your current business base.  Segment your existing top customers based on what they do for a living, recreation, and special interests.  This approach enables you to focus on building the quality relationships necessary to target specific niches and expand your customer base with more of your best customers.

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