The Fear of Selling to One Person vs. the Danger of Selling to All

Last week my daughter asked me to get some milk so she could have some oatmeal. On the way back from the store I passed by a local mattress shop – at least that’s what they had rows of in their small retail store. 


I’ve passed this store many times, but this day I took a few extra seconds to closely observe and read the signage.

The signs read:

  • Mattresses on Sale
  • We Buy Gold
  • Computer Repair

I thought, it’s no wonder that there’s not much traffic coming to this dinger little store. Prospective customers are confused about what kind of store it is. Not only are they confused, but the bigger problem is trust. Can someone who sells me a mattress really help me get cash for my gold? Can someone who is an expert on computer repair really help me find a comfortable mattress? Can someone who is selling me a mattress really fix my computer?

By trying to serve everyone we often end up not serving anyone.

In preparation for my presentation at #ICON14 (a small business sales and marketing conference), I’m really thinking about the fear small businesses have in being focused in what they sell as opposed to being more broad.

The attraction phase of lifecycle marketing (all three phases are attract, sell, wow) is that if you keep a narrow focus in your marketing, you’ll sell more and better products. set out to be the best online book-seller on the planet – once it conquered that market it expanded into other products. But the basis of its success was its initial focus on excelling at selling books online – the user experience, customer service, etc.

What about Facebook? It initially set out to be the best online hangout for college students, then others, and then it grew from there and added more features and offerings to its platform.

If you want to succeed in sales – don’t try to sell to everyone. Instead, narrow your target market and focus on selling to a very specific audience. Not “men” – but men who like to golf on the weekend and have fun with their friends. You can now focus your marketing copy, your sales efforts, and everything you do on this very specific market.

Don’t be afraid of going narrower – you won’t limit your opportunities, in fact you’ll expand them.

Related reading

Digital marketing strategy for business
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