4 Signs You’re Selling Into The Wrong Market -www.5daychallenge.net

Posted by Helen Vandenberghe - September 7th 2016


4 Signs You’re Selling to the Wrong Market

“I’ve tried EVERYTHING, but they just won’t buy.”

That was the heart-breaking comment I heard from a business owner this week-and I can tell you, she’s not alone.

I see many entrepreneurs working like crazy trying every marketing tactic they can think of to fill a programme or launch a service. Only to find that those ‘hot prospects’ haven’t got any money, or want to push the buying decision into next quarter, or 101 other reasons they “Love your work” but aren’t actually BUYING!

Before you know it, you’re feeling like a big fat failure, doubting your offering and dropping your prices – so now you’re doing the work for half the money.  You start to wonder if you can even make this work and if you’re really cut out to be an entrepreneur…if you’re honest – you REALLY just want to do the client work.

And to top it off, the clients who DO turn up absolutely ADORE you, but they can’t afford you – so while they become your best advocates, they refer people who are just like them…broke!

Before you get sucked into the next marketing tactic, and start the whole rollercoaster ride again – let’s just take a breath.

If this sounds familiar it’s likely you might be ‘fishing in the wrong pond’.


When I sold my training company and started offering business coaching, I had a similar experience.  Everyone thought I was brilliant, everyone wanted some help….but no one was willing to actually PAY for my services.

I could see people who REALLY needed my help; My friend the sports massage therapist who was running herself ragged fitting in clients between the school run, but barely making enough to cover her petrol costs; the freelance consultant who was being paid bottom dollar by a HUGE training organisation, only to be cancelled at the last minute, left with an empty diary and no clients of her own. The franchise owner who, with just a little structure could easily create a flow of clients.

But when I approached these amazing women to work with me – they were wonderfully complimentary about me, devoured all my free content, but never quite had enough money at the end of the month to invest in themselves.

I desperately wanted to help improve their situations, but the truth is, your ideal client is someone who can hugely benefit from the work you do, WANTS what you have to offer, AND has the financial resources to PAY FOR IT!

Otherwise you’re running a CHARITY not a business.

It’s impossible for you to serve effectively if you are not taken care of yourself.


When you’re changing niche, launching a new programme or just starting out you (like I was) may be tempted to offer discounts, free services, ‘taster sessions’.  And that’s all PEFECTLY FINE…if delivering your free offer is not costing you anything and if those people are VERY likely to become paying clients.

But don’t be fooled –  this is MARKETING not SALES.

Filling a programme with ‘warm bodies’ is not the answer if they are not the right people

Honing in on the right potential clients requires patience, and a willingness to think critically. It’s also a CONSTANT process. As your business evolves and grows, your ideal clients might change, too.

There will always be opportunities to add new people to your list, and to “trim the fat” by removing clients who aren’t providing the necessary return on your investment of time and resources.

By removing clients who aren’t yielding results, your team will save time, become more efficient, and focus their energy on clients who are more likely to convert. The challenge comes in separating the clients who might just require some extra convincing, from those who are unlikely to convert no matter what you do.

Making that distinction requires an honest look at whether you’re targeting the wrong people, and you can start the process by keeping your eye out for these four common signs that it might be time to look for a new target.


You want it for them more than they want it for themselves

You find yourself saying “Jennie would really benefit from this” if only we could make this work…Believe me if Jennie REALLY wanted it, she’d be beating down your door!  If Jennie IS your ideal client, has the resources to pay, but doesn’t seem to want it, this is a clue that your MESSAGE isn’t clear enough.  If they don’t see the value you haven’t ARTICUALTED the value (or maybe she just doesn’t want it!).


Your Client Lacks Purchasing Authority

If you sell to corporates, targeting the right types of businesses is just a first step. You also need to reach the right people within those businesses. If your contact lacks the authority to make a purchase, the best result you can hope for is that they’ll pass your solution on to someone who does have that authority. Even in that best case scenario, your conversion rate is going to be very low. Save time and improve your team’s odds of success by making sure that your clients have the authority to purchase your service.


You’re Selling at The Last Minute

There’s nothing that makes us more desperate than having to sell to a rapidly approaching deadline. And nothing more likely to attract the WRONG clients.

If you sell time limited services, such as am open course or a conference, then while there are some cool tricks to get a few more ‘bums on seats’, you’ll always find yourself on the back foot trying to fill last minute places.

Event marketing should be a year-round process, with a clear funnel of attracting potential clients, letting them get to know you, and inviting them into your services.

You want to make your event profitable with AS FEW people as possible, so review your costs, pricing structure & packages. And be clear, is this a MARKETING event or is it REVENUE GENERATING.

I spent twelve months doing free ‘lessons at lunchtime’ to get my training company off the ground – but that cost me nothing but time and set up me with clients for YEARS to come.  However, I also actively marketing high paying packages, and also did some freelance work to keep things ticking over, until I got those first few clients.


Your Solution Isn’t a Priority

Ideally, your product will solve a meaningful, HIGH-PRIORITY challenge that your prime clients face. If your prospect doesn’t have to deal with that challenge, or if addressing it isn’t a priority, you’re going to have real trouble selling to that prospect. Your solution should be a high priority for the people you enrol, plain and simple.

Analysing your clients isn’t just a way to improve lagging performance. It’s something you should be doing regularly to keep your business healthy. Even if your sales are performing well generally, optimising your sales and marketing processes can help turn good performance into great performance.


Finally – just take a moment to acknowledge EVERYTHING you’ve done so far. You’re one of the BRAVE few, who’ve taken on the HUGE challenge of growing their own business.  You deserve a STANDING OVATION in my book!  You also deserve some help.


It’s likely, what got you HERE won’t get you THERE.  The place you want to be.

If you’re ready to reach out to new clients, why not join my FREE Back to Business 5 Day Challenge at www.5DayChallenge.net  where you’ll receive action steps to take for 5 days to get you out of overwhelm and into ACTION.

Helen Vandenberghe