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The One-Question Shortcut to Identifying Your Niche Market

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You'd like to sell more, right? More of your product, service, program, offering; whatever it is you are paid to deliver.

Maybe it's because you'd like to make more money. Maybe it's because you'd like to help more people. Hopefully, you'd like to do both.

Related: Build a Better Understanding of Customers, Get a Competitive Advantage

What about helping people more?

Let's focus there, because helping people more is the secret to helping more people and making more money.

When you help people more, they consume more, refer more and pay more.

Most entrepreneurs try to increase their value by defining a target market, or more narrowly, a niche market. Then they try to figure out what that market wants and needs, and how they can add the most value, based on what they know about that market segment.

That method is effective but cumbersome.

But what we really want to do is to separate the occasional users from the addicts, the fans from the fanatics. We want to define your ideal client or customer by the most narrow and value-based criteria available. When we do that, we increase the value of your product or service without making a single change to what you're offering.

Who would get the most bang for the buck from what you offer?

That is the one, simple question you need to answer. Let's take a fitness coach as a case study.

He's put together a program and he's fired up about it. It's a two month accelerated fitness plan. Not just exercise classes, or one-size-fits-all workouts and meal schedules, but a combination of cross training, martial arts, yoga, resistance training, movement integration, home fitness assignments and seated massage, all in a group setting with no more than a dozen people, allowing lots of personal attention and three private training or massage sessions during the two month period.

Anyone could benefit from a program like that, right? But who would benefit the most?

It's easy at this point to try to get so narrow in your focus that you argue against every answer you come up with. Remember, you're looking for generalities, not absolutes. Your answers don't need to be universally true of your ideal prospect, just true of a significant number of them.

Related: Defining Your Market in 7 Steps

Let's assume his ideal prospect is probably female. Women generally derive more value from the sense of belonging and individual attention. They are more likely to be open to the therapeutic aspects of the program. Let's say she is probably over 45. She has a history of lifestyle-induced, or illness or injury-related, physical limitations. A person who is in that age range is beginning to experience challenges due to hormonal shifts. Those challenges are aggravated if the person is largely sedentary, engages in repetitive motion or is contending with old injuries or chronic illness.

This woman, with her particular challenges, will benefit most from the customized approach, small group and private interaction, and wide range of activities and therapies included. Since the group will meet late afternoons and Saturday mornings, we can also suppose that the person who will benefit the most will likely be working a traditional schedule. She might also be a wife or mother who needs to be available to the family later in the evening.

Since the cost of the program will be in the $1,000 range, we believe the greatest value will be to someone who can afford it without resorting to borrowing against their life insurance or robbing a bank, so let's say a household income of $70,000 or more. Since they will be traveling to the gym three times per week, we believe they either live or work within a 10 mile radius of the location.

She probably (based on age range) is either married or divorced, has children and maybe grandchildren, and she most likely struggles with weight and health issues.

Can you imagine what happened for this fitness coach when he narrowed his marketing strategy to focus only on this client profile? He attracted some clients who didn't fit, and he didn't turn them away. But he attracted even more clients who are a perfect match. It's these clients who will become his "addicts," enrolling in future programs, referring their friends and family, and giving him the opportunity make more money and help more people, because he started by finding the people he could help more.

Consider your own and ask, "Who will get more bang for buck from buying what I have to offer?" The answer will guide you to help people more, which leads to helping more people and making more money.

Related: 6 Ways to Do Well by Doing Good

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