August 4, 2016

Who You Should Sell To

Don't market to people who are just like you.

One of the biggest challenges that many side business owners face is figuring out who to sell to. They naturally start by marketing to people in their inner circle on social media networks. That’s the quickest and easiest way to get started, but it can often lead to a common problem down the road where those same people want the product or service, but they don’t want to pay for it. 

For example, one of my clients sells baby clothes. They are adorable handmade outfits you can’t find in any store.

She gets most of her business by posting her clothing to Facebook, which then leads to sales. But she continues to run into the same problem.

People want her clothes, but they don’t want to pay for them. They’ll either ask her for the pattern or ask her to sell a dress “at cost” rather than at the listed price.

The problem with my client’s business model is something many side-business owners face: She markets to people just like her.

You see, my client started making her own children’s clothes because she was cost-conscious, crafty and willing to do it herself. But then she promoted her products to friends and family who were cost-conscious, crafty and willing to do it themselves.

Naturally, they look at her dresses and think exactly what she thought: “I could make that myself.”

That’s why your best bet is to sell to people not like you. Instead of marketing to close friends or family, ask yourself who needs what you have to offer? Who doesn’t have the time or skill to make what you can make? And who’s willing to pay for your valuable service?

Sell to them.

Your business exists to help a certain type of person—and often that person is not like you.


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Leave a Comment

  • Dot says:

    Congratulations on the handsome young man that you are probably holding, even now. You just can’t get enough of God’s goodness, can you? Do you in your archives, or of those postings to come that you have already done, have anything having to do with music teachers trying to do it on their own? You know, lessons out of their home? Just checking because it sure would be helpful to my niece. Possibly.

  • Natasha says:

    This is a lovely article. Actually I’ve never thought about it this way and it makes a lot of sense. Thank you Christy and congratulations

  • Monique says:

    Great perspective to consider. I think its about really deciding who’s life you really want to change. Determine who do you really want to work with or write to, determine your target audience. I think its important to target the type of people that you want to work with and they are often a lot like you in many ways. I find that to be the most rewarding and authentic way to build a brand that you feel connected to, one that is full of passion and purpose. But deciding what they most want, need and value can be very beneficial and can help you decide how to solve their problem uniquely different than anyone else. In the example you provide, if the person offers a great deal of credible content and builds a reputation she will likely attract the people that are interested in her solution to their problem. She may be a frugal mom, but there’s more to her idenity that she can hone in on, which allows her to make an authentic connection. So perhaps she designs tutorials that are free to access but she includes a link to her shop. By doing this she builds credibility and grows awareness, her audience begins to know and trust her. They are more likely to go to her when they need to make a purchase. They may be looking for a deal and may not have the time or resources or desire at some point to do it themselves, so instead they buy from her bc they know her. Or they go to her tutorial, whichs builds her following and website traffic and allows her to gain subscribers…all very attractive to sponsors and affliate links. I think its all about messaging and reaching your target audience by meeting their most pressing needs and desires and positioning yourself in the market that will listen to your voice.

  • catherine says:

    thanks for sharing this info . I am self-employed as a seamstress/tailor have been in my own space for 16 years but have worked in this field for 30 + years . people are indeed funny .and they can do and say the strangest things. until you work in retail/public no one would believe the actual things said.