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The Most Obvious (but Still Unusual) Way to Engage More Qualified Prospects Is your target market too niche?

By Brian Hilliard

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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I had an interesting conversation with a client of mine that I think can definitely have an impact on your business.

He's a health coach out in the UK, and he specifically talks about the role nutrition, stress, emotional well-being and physical exercise plays in your total health picture.

In his mind, if you want to lose weight, as an example, diet and exercise are obviously a big part of it. However, stress levels and emotional well-being are equally important, since they can drive (or impede) your ability to lose that extra body fat.

His niche market is busy financial executives.

Now at first glance you're probably wondering what's the big deal with that?

Sounds like he's on the right track. He's got a good product, a good approach. And it sounds like he's working a solid niche market, so what's the problem?

Well, what if I told you that one of his challenges was not getting enough qualified leads?

In other words, as he's prospecting and generating leads for his business (mostly through LinkedIn and referrals), he's finding that there simply aren't enough of his market (busy financial executives), to engage and convert into clients on a regular basis.

He was having a volume of leads problem, and that's when I came in.

"So when you talk to these guys ... because most of them are men right?" I asked. "When you talk to these guys, you're not having too much of a challenge converting them into clients. At least no more than usual, but you're telling me that the volume of qualified candidates is not where you want it to be, is that right?"

"That's exactly right," he replied. "And it's not that there aren't enough physically available per se, but between their extremely busy schedules, travel and some having a weight problem but not wanting any outside assistance for addressing it, I feel like I don't have enough qualified leads to even talk to!"

"Interesting ..."

We talked about it some more, and here's the answer we came up with. It might just surprise you.

Turns out his market was too niche.

"Too niche?" you might be asking.

Yes, too niche.

In other words, he'd "drilled down" so much into his target audience, that the resultant population was too small to consistently provide a steady flow of leads for his sales efforts.

Which I thought was fascinating. How many times do you hear that you need to narrow your target market? Heck, how many times have I given friends, clients and colleagues that same advice?

"Hey, I think you might be too broad in your offering. Have you considered niching down a bit, so you can really hit the hot buttons of your perspective clients?"

And it's true ...for most people.

But for him, he had actually fallen off the other side of the horse, as a friend of mine likes to say.

He had gotten so niche that he actually cut himself off from viable prospecting candidates simply because of an arbitrary constraint (his niche) that was too narrow. That was costing his business legitimate client acquisition opportunities.

I suggested that he get a little wider with our marketing. Instead of just targeting busy financial executives, I recommended that he go with busy executives in general and not worry as much about the industry. After all, the things my client was helping his clients work through -- travel, busy work schedule, high stress, poor diet -- really weren't just a function of the finance industry.

If you find yourself not talking to enough qualified leads -- based on your target market, hot buttons and corresponding value proposition -- then you might want to see if your niche market is too small.

Don't go crazy or anything (this not suggestion you start working with everyone, since that doesn't work either), but look back at your market and see if you can widen it by a tad without compromising your original value proposition or associated hot buttons.

Brian Hilliard

Bestselling Author & Client Acquisition Coach

BRIAN HILLIARD is the co-author of Networking Like a Pro (Entrepreneur Press 2017) and popular speaker. As creator of the program "How to Market Your Business in Less Than 90 Days," Brian works with busy entrereneurs in the areas of Marketing, Mindset and Personal Achievement. Some of Brian's work has appeared nationally in Black Enterprise, Coaching World Magazine and the Martha Zoller Morning Show. During his free time, Brian enjoys playing golf and basketball and watching as many movies as possible on Netflix!

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