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Are you wondering why an article about Sales Strategy and your Ideal Customer Profile would talk about ‘Unruly Tourists’?  There’s an important link that is central to the success of your Sales and Marketing Strategy this year – and that is – to make the best kind of sales that generate the most profit and give you the greatest joy, you need to be spending most (if not all) of your time with your best kind of clients.

Here in NZ, the news headlines have been bursting with information about ‘the Unruly Tourists’ – a UK family driving through NZ and the string of businesses who’ve been upset by their behaviour.

From littering on the beach, to stealing a Christmas tree and refusing to pay for meals, the whole country has been fixated on tracking their progress through NZ.  Collectively, NZ has shown a whole lot more rage about this story than is probably warranted.  Is it the slowness of January with little or no political news that has meant the tourists got far so much airtime?

This has given the rest of the world quite a bit of amusement.  In fact, it’s probably the biggest story in the NZ media this summer, surpassing the sort of coverage normally reserved for a visit from the British royal family.

Whatever you think of the ‘Unruly Tourists’ and their news coverage, there are some interesting aspects this story can teach us about the kinds of customers we should be focused on developing business relationships with.

If you’re planning your Sales and Marketing Strategy this January, it’s a great time to update your ICP.  Your Sales Strategy tells you where you want to go with your business and your sales, and how you’re going to get there.  A key part of the ‘how’ is a deep understanding of your Ideal Customer Profile.  The most optimal combination of your Sales Strategy and your ICP will generate incredible sales momentum – delivering the kind of sales results you’ve always wanted.

Not everyone is your customer.  When we courageously say ‘no’ to non-customers, we open ourselves to opportunities to work with our ideal customers.  Here are 10 reasons to zero in on your Ideal Customer Profile and avoid any ‘Unruly Tourists’ who were never going to purchase from you anyway:

One – Make sales more easily

Potential clients who fit your ICP will tick all your boxes by overcoming all the obstacles outlined in Zig Ziglar’s famous quote – ‘Every sale has five basic obstacles – no need, no money, no hurry, no desire, no trust.’  Customers who have a need, have the necessary budget to meet that need, are ready and willing to purchase now, and who trust you and your business will happily buy from you.  Who doesn’t want to close sales with less effort?

Two – Enjoy your business more

You’ll have more fun in your business when you’re working with your best kinds of customers.  We’re talking about working with people you enjoy, who appreciate the difference you’re making in their lives.  Many of us go into business for freedom of choice.  Let’s set ourselves up for success by choosing to work with our ideal clients.

Three – Generate more quality referrals

Referrals from customers who fit your ICP will be more frequent, and more likely to be of a higher quality than referrals from less-ideal customers.  You’ll probably get referrals to more potential customers who fit your ICP, making it easier to sell to them and to keep them happy at the same time.

Four – Spend time on the right activities

It’s time-consuming chasing late-payers for small sales.  The best kinds of customers will value you and your business, be convinced that you’re worth purchasing from and willing to become large customers who pay on time.  We all have the same amount of time each day.  Let’s spend the sales and marketing time in our business on activities that directly deliver the results we’re aiming for.

Five – Increase your focus

As you spend more and more time with your ideal customers, you’ll become better at recognising them – perhaps developing a laser-like focus to spot them quickly.  You’ll know who they are, what they do, their job titles, company size, where they hang out, what problems and concerns keep them up at night.  This deep understanding will translate into interesting and meaningful conversation both online and offline, and great sales will come from your relationship-building in this space.

You’ll also get better at recognising potential clients who do not meet your ICP.  This will help you to know how much time to spend with them, and when it’s time to move on.

Six – Make larger sales

Client who fit your ICP will tend to be your top 20% of clients who make larger-sized purchases from you.

As all salespeople will know, it can often take just as much effort to bring on board a small client as a large client.  Spending time with those who more closely fit your ICP increases the likelihood that any resulting sales will be larger.  Any targets that you’ve set in your Sales and Marketing Strategy will be easier to achieve when your ideal clients start making large purchases from you.

Seven – Deliver massive impact to delighted customers

Customers who are ready and willing to purchase from you, and who trust you, will be so much easier to keep happy.  This is because they see you as an expert and want the full value that your business can deliver to them.

These ideal clients will be easy to delight, as they purchase your best recommendations in the recommended timeframes.  This will give them the best results – which in turn will create raving fans for your business.  The word of mouth that goes out about you will bring more ideal clients seeking the solutions you offer.

Eight – Get paid on time

Ideal clients pay on time, probably because they are organised with good accounting systems and also because they make it a priority.  This is especially important for smaller sized businesses, who are often managing cashflow very carefully.

Any pro-bono work that you do should be by your own choice, not because a client is refusing to pay.  Time spent trying to collect on unpaid invoices means you’re working longer for that client by chasing after their payment.  This sort of interaction is never pleasant for either party and can damage your brand if not done the right way.

Nine – Develop predictable on-going revenue

That’s right – you’ll be able to deliver your high-value offerings to clients who really understand that massive change often requires a sizeable investment.  Not only that, your ideal clients will often want to partner with you.  This means that you will be able to develop a predictable stream of on-going sales revenue into your business.

Ten – Build a stronger business

The renewed focus on serving your ideal clients will result in a stronger, more resilient business.  This has got to be better for everyone at your business, not just your sales and marketing team.  The surge of confidence your team gets from working with customers who love your business will translate into an incredible team culture where everyone in your team is just more excited about being part of your business.

If you haven’t yet developed your Ideal Customer Profile, spend some time thinking about the ideal clients you serve.  Create a spreadsheet with their characteristics and use this to assess your sales activities and potential customers in the year ahead.

If you’ve already developed your Ideal Customer Profile, now is a good time to check the characteristics of your best kinds of customers.  Has there been any change in the market which might mean you need to update your list of their characteristics?

With your completed ICP, you and your team are now ready to respond to sales opportunities this year.