How could a thing like rejection possibly make us more attractive?
Some readers are likely thinking, “Oh boy, Deo’s really gone off the deep end this time.” But it’s true. The more people we REJECT, the more attractive we become to that small, discrete little market.
Consider this: What is the fastest growing franchise chain in the United States? McDonalds, Burger King, Starbucks? Not even close.
From humble beginnings barely a decade ago, fitness center Curves International has expanded to nearly 9,000 locations. To put that growth into context, consider that it took McDonald’s and Subway 25 years to open 6,000 franchise locations. Curves needed just seven.
How could this be? What is the secret of such exponential growth?
If you’re a body builder you definitely will not want to go to Curves. In fact if you’re a man, I doubt you would be caught dead in Curves. Curves targets the soccer mom. Designed to appeal to an older, female demographic, Curves is a fitness center that differs greatly from other gyms. Instead of 50,000 square feet of saunas, pools and fancy equipment, a typical Curves franchise occupies 1,200 square feet and has 10 to 12 machines. It is simple and affordable for Mom.
Curves has effectively applied rules number one (Become a bigger fish in a smaller pond) and two (Strategic rejection makes us more attractive) of the Rules of Attraction. Together these rules have created breakthrough performance for the company. They have rejected the largest segment of the fitness market and thereby become a big fish in a small pond. In our Attract More Business program we look at how by targeting a very specific audience and rejecting others we make ourselves far more attractive. In fact we analyze some of the ads from Curves and see precisely how they and other companies have done this.
Oddly enough when we reject the larger segment of the market we end up being more important to our target audience and the result is a product or service that performs exceptionally well when stacked-up against the competition. When we are on a mission to add more business at all costs, however, regardless of how these new prospects match with our target profile, we risk devaluating our market position and reduce our competitive worth.
I have seen many occasions where management, in pursuit of meeting ever exceeding numbers, will oblige and make the requisite changes to land a new customer, ANY new customer. If you fast forward into the future and continue this behavior, you will end up with a company that has a great number of new customers but also a support nightmare (i.e.: too many different versions of a product which makes it difficult to maintain and support from a development and customer service perspective). In addition, you end up constantly delaying the next release of your product or service as precious resources get sucked away. You also have lots of features that the market does not want. You cease to be exclusively important to ANYONE. You become a “jack-of-all-trades” important to no-one. Finally, the profitability for each customer goes down significantly as you add new features just to close deals.
In the long run, having too many of the wrong customers can kill your business. The more experienced and disciplined strategy is to identify the “gap” in the marketplace (the need which is not being met) then developing a solution that so perfectly fits this need that it would be ridiculous to even consider any other solution. This is precisely what companies like Curves are doing. While they are incredibly important to the working, mature mother, they are ultimately useless to the average health-enthusiast, bodybuilder.
This does not simply apply to service-based businesses. It works the same way for industrial or consumer products as well.
Think about the iPod. It is probably the hottest consumer electronics product on the market today. Yet it has terrible features and ultimately (like many other niche-oriented, Apple products) alienates the majority of the marketplace. Consider this: If you don’t care about low battery life, aren’t fond of jogging, have ample disposable income, don’t need to record/encode music portably, and want to purchase music downloads ONLY from the iTunes Music Store, then the iPod is the best the way to go. Is it me or isn’t iPod REJECTING most buyers? Then why are they doing so great? While not ideal for some, it’s still hands down the best-designed MP3 player in the world.
Now who’s your niche audience? How can you reject the majority of customers, only to become so perfectly geared to that exclusive market that they would be idiots not to buy from you?
Interested in applying this technique to your business? Check out our latest workshop:
Attract More Business One Day Workshops
By popular demand, we are now offering the Attract More Business one day workshop. This full day workshop incorporates content from our “Attract More Business” learning program and 8 week class. The workshop will be held from 9am to 5pm on June 11, 2005 in Long Beach, CAand August 25, 2005 in Pasadena, CA. Attendees of the workshop are eligible for 2 follow up 30 minute coaching sessions. As a special bonus when you attend the Attract More Business one day workshop, you will receive our audio CD on “Branding in the 21st Century.”Sign-up at: Attract More Business One Day Workshop.