One of these things is not like the other


There are two types of prospective clients in the world. Those who don’t know you but will find you or be led to you when they need your help, and those who do know you but don’t need your help right now. 

The first group—those who don’t know you—is a very large group, essentially unlimited; the second group is comparatively miniscule.

People in both groups may hire you. It might be years from now or it might be tomorrow. They also might never hire you, but know people they can refer. 

If you could only market to one of these groups, which would you choose?

Would you choose the massive group that doesn’t know you from Adam or the small group who knows you well?

To answer that, you would have to consider the cost and complexity of getting your message in front of each group., 

Communicating with a small group of people who know you is as simple as emailing, placing a call, or walking up to them the next time you see them. 

Easy to do, zero cost. 

It’s just the opposite with the large group—expensive and/or time-consuming, but potentially worth it given their numbers.

You would also need to consider the element of trust. 

The small group knows, likes, and presumably trusts you. They’ll read your email and take your call. If they need your help, they’ll probably hire you. If they know someone who needs your help, they’ll probably give them your name. 

It’s a much different story with the large group to whom you are just a name in a directory or ad, or someone they’ve heard about but have questions, doubts, and fears. 

This group might hire or refer you, but you have a lot of work to do before that happens. And while you’re in the process of doing that, they might be just as likely to hire someone else.

There are many other factors, but based on size, cost, and trust, which group would you choose? 

The good news is you don’t have to choose one group. You can market to both. 

Early in your career, or if you’re not getting enough work from the people who know you, you’ll no doubt invest more in the larger group of people who don’t. Eventually, when you’re busy and making bank, you might focus primarily on the group of people who know you, because why wouldn’t you?

Over time, your goal should be to increase the number of people who know and trust you and to deepen your relationships with them. 

But, people die and retire, businesses go out of business, and good relationships sour. So it would be smart to continue getting your name in front of the masses who don’t yet know you, and continue to do that until you die, retire, or go out of business.

Enjoy the low-hanging fruit. But keep a ladder nearby.

How to choose your target market and ideal clients