If prospects are good, more prospects must be better, right?
Not so fast. Most consultants don’t need more prospects, they need better prospects. (And it turns out that what you do to get better prospects, will lead you to get more prospects, too.)
The fight doctor and the wrong patient?
If you have glasses and went to visit your eye doctor, you would expect her to treat your knee pain. In fact, you’d probably get very worried if the doctor suggested she could treat any medical condition. You’d expect her to recommend a good orthopedist for your knee. And not a shoulder doctor, but a knee doctor. And depending on other circumstances– are you a 30 year-old athlete trying to get back into peak shape, or a 75 year-old looking a knee replacement?– you’d be looking for different knee doctors.
If you visit the ophthalmologist’s website, you’d expect a lot of discussion of eyes, and none of knees. For patients with an eye problem– perhaps a particular type of eye problem, you’d know you were in the right place. If you have a knee problem, you’d know right away you were in the wrong place.
The consultant and the bad consulting “prospect”?
Yet many consultants have websites that suggest they treat everyone and everything. (“Helping business owners grow their businesses!”)
If you’re a business owner, are you in the right place on these websites? It’s hard to tell.
So many people who really are in the right place give up and leave. We all have limited time and attention.
Perhaps even worse, many people who are not, think they might be, wasting lots of time and attention (yours and theirs).
So make it clear, are you dealing with eyes or knees?
Athletes or grandmas? (All metaphors, presumably.)
That way, when the right person lands on your website (or your LinkedIn profile, or reads your bio at a conference, etc, etc), they can say, “finally, I found the right person to help me.”
And just as importantly, other people can recognize that they are not in the right place, so they don’t waste more of their time or yours.
But consulting isn’t surgery, you might say? I can consult on both “eyes” and “knees”… Perhaps that’s true, but you will be better, more valued, and find a higher calling with one. You’ll get more referrals, more repeat business, and have an easier time landing new clients.
It’s true that we’re not talking about surgery, and you can always agree to take on work outside your niche if you’d like, but it’s better to get another ideal prospect for an ideal project than take the next person who walks in.
Once you know who you are trying to help and how, it’s much easier to make your site (and your profile, email signature, and other digital real estate) speak to those people, to welcome them in with the aroma of their favorite cookie, while other folks will realize they should go elsewhere.
Let those folks bounce off your website, unsubscribe from your newsletter, and find the places they do belong.
Define Your Niche to Turn Away Bad Consulting Prospects
Not sure where to start?
Use the Mission & Positioning tool in Mimiran to not only dial in your positioning, but generate outlines for your website, about me page, LinkedIn profile, post ideas, Lead Magnets, and more.
The temptation is always to go broader, to not turn people away, to pursue a bigger market.
Rather than thinking of big vs. small markets, with the inevitable fear of missing out, think of easy vs. hard. When you attract the right prospects, sales and marketing becomes easy. You’re going downstream instead of trying to get upstream.
The power of your positioning is like a magnet: you can only attract with the same strength that you repel. So if you’re working on “eyes”, make sure the “knees” go elsewhere. That frees you up to focus on the people you help the best, and will make sales and marketing more fun and less of a chore.