Get More Leads and Referrals By NOT Trying to Please Everyone.

As I was thinking about what to write about today,  it came to me via my email. I received one of  those “forward to everyone” emails with the quote, “As I have grown older I have learned that pleasing everyone is impossible, but pissing everyone off is a piece of cake” and I thought this was particularly insightful, especially in networking situations.

It is generally very difficult to please everyone, so why do most people try to do that anyways.  I go to many events and do tons of networking and when I ask the question “who is your ideal customer?” inevitably I get the answer “everyone”. This answer can be confusing and makes it very difficult for people to realistically be able to provide you with solid, qualified referrals.

I can see where it may be easy to believe that you can solve everyone’s problems with your product or solution.For example, a restaurant serves food and everyone has to eat. But it is a big difference if you are a family restaurant that is kid-friendly versus a more upscale restaurant catering to people wanting a night out without kids. Right? I would be greatly pissed if I were looking for a quiet evening out and went to a place where there were a bunch of kids running around. Your marketing messages including your website and social media profiles should accurately describe who you serve and how you help solve a problem so you attract the right customers.


Help people find qualified leads for you by describing your ideal customer.
Photo by Seth Sawyer

Sure, it is true that “anyone” can be a purchaser of flowers or “everyone” could need financial help or “all” people could potentially buy a house, but by being more specific about who your ideal customer is, you are able to position your products and services in a way to better meet the needs of that group and you will attract the kind of people who will most likely be a good fit for what you have to offer. Plus it helps people to know when to refer you to someone. When you say “everyone” it is difficult for people to conjure up someone from their “Rolodex” of contacts, but if you describe a particular type of customer, people can narrow down their contacts and think of particular people who could most benefit from what you have to offer.

To get the most qualified leads and referrals with an attention-grabbing marketing message, you should do the following two things:

  1. Identify the characteristics of your ideal customer and be able to describe that to those you network with. Is your product best for a certain age group? For a particular gender? Income bracket? Geography? Special interest group? The more descriptive you are, the easier it is for people to know if they are interested in what you have to offer or be able to identify others that could benefit.
  2. Be flexible with your message. This means you should have an understanding about the people you are networking with and what their needs may be so you can create a personal message that will resonate with that group.

Some examples include:

A realtor may say to a group of young business professionals, “I help young couples and business professionals currently living in apartments find their first home”. But if that same realtor is talking to a group of retirees, he/she may say “I help retirees evaluate housing alternatives as they start thinking about downsizing”.

A financial planner may say to a group of moms, ” I help couples with school age children create college funds for the future while still enjoying family activities today.” but maybe to a group of students, “I help students create spending plans that fit their lifestyles while starting a savings plan for their future.”

A florist may say to a group of business networkers, “I help networkers differentiate themselves by using custom flower arrangements and baskets as a unique way to show appreciation for referrals they receive.”. Or maybe to some dad’s at a baseball game, “I help men keep their marriages fresh with fresh flowers.”.

So remember, even if you can to be everything to everyone, you will receive more referrals if you can describe who you help more specifically.

The Network PRo Toolkit has a section that helps you create your unique personal brand so you can stand apart from everyone else. Click here to find out more about how you can become a better and more confident networker.

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