Back in the day, it was an occasional feature of a Friday or a Saturday that I would get into some kind of disagreement with the doormen at the latest/trendiest/most exclusive club I wanted to get into that night. Usually because I was wearing trainers instead of shoes. Or if I had shoes on, because my shirt wasn’t the right colour. Or for some other seemingly spurious excuse.
At the time, I struggled to get my head around their reasoning. After all – it was their loss right? That’s one less paying customer (and boy those nights out were expensive!) for them. One less person paying to get in. One less person buying their overpriced drinks.
Now I understand. Now, I see that the doormen weren’t just being difficult for the sake of it. That they were actually following a deliberate marketing strategy on the part of the owner. And that ultimately, by turning away some customers – they were positioning their product as a more attractive proposition for the clients they actually wanted and who would be prepared to pay a premium for not wearing trainers and the wrong colour shirts.
They had decided up-front that their business was only fun and profitable for them if they define who they actually want to work with, how many and on what terms:
Who do I want to work with?
What kind of client do you want? Who is your product or service for? What does the ideal customer look like? If you’re able to figure out exactly who you’re aiming at then your business suddenly becomes much simpler – because you can just turn away all the people who don’t meet your specific criteria, and target all of your marketing and advertising effort/budget towards those who do. Seems obvious right – but how many people are actually doing it?
How many do I want to work with?
This one might be a bit trickier, but it’s worth your consideration still. How much of your product can you produce or sell? How many clients can you service and over what period of time? Answering these questions gives you insight into how to plan and organise your marketing so you hit the targets you’re aiming for.
On what terms do I want to work with or sell my product to people?
It seems a kind of odd question right? After all, conventional wisdom would have it that you should sell your product to everyone that wants it. But what we’re doing here is sending a powerful message: This product or service is exclusive and only for a very specific kind of person.
Why would you want to exclude many possible customers in this way? Because the ones who do buy your product or service will be willing to pay a premium for something that they know is *for them* and not just for anyone. The products and services people use become a part of their identity – think Apple, Mercedes, Samsung (in my wife’s case!) etc – and they want to feel like it’s been designed and sold with them specifically in mind. If you can tap into that, lack of customers will not be a problem.
One of the benefits of owning your own club is that you get to choose who gets to come in. Probably one of the reasons you’re in the club business is because you enjoy the nightlife scene that goes along with it and want to make sure that you’re surrounded with the coolest people possible.
Like the famous Groucho Marx quote: I wouldn’t want to be in any club that would have me as a member… I’m not sure that I would have wanted my scruffy teenage self as a customer either.
We’re not only in business to make money. We’re not just in business to serve people or to fulfill that big dream or vision. We’re in business to have fun, and to build a lifestyle that satisfies our deepest needs and desires.
To do that, we need to get picky about who, how many and under what terms we will serve our customers.
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