Consultant Thursdays: Don’t Try To Be Everything For Everyone

I sit in a lot of pre-sales meetings, going over requirements. Clients always say the damndest things, and this was actually a discussion that I was having with a friend of my that just started a chiropractic business, also, on Tuesday.

The conversation went a little like this:

“Bob (I won’t hide the names of the innocent), you aren’t charging enough.”

“But I want my services to be affordable, and I want the right kind of clients.”

“What are the right kind of clients?”

“Clients that will value the services that I provide, I want them to show up to appointments, and work on their personal health.”

“But do you really care if they are about their personal health or not? Isn’t it more profitable to take clients with health insurance, instead of providing services to only those that don’t want to go through their insurance?”

“Yes, but those clients cost more because of the paperwork, and a lot of those clients don’t really appreciate the services. They just want the massage, and won’t take steps to help themselves.”

He’s taken a step to providing services for a particular market segment. He might not make as much money, but he’s carving out a niche in his market that he hopes will make him successful in the long term.

That’s a decision that we all have to make at some point — I’ve tried the “lower price, to build a relationship” route, and in my experience in the tech industry, it doesn’t work. My feeling is that those are the same people that will threaten to take their business to China or India or somewhere else, and they’ll never be happy, so I choose to stay in a high priced category. Because of that (whatever rate you are charging), the clients seem to value you more because they know they are paying a higher rate.

Whatever you do, all successful businesses pick their target audience — not trying to be everything to everyone. Apple does it. Microsoft does it. MySpace and Facebook do it. Why should you?

Thoughts, comments?