You Can’t Chase Every Customer

As entrepreneurs, we chase revenue wherever we can find it, often without fully considering whether we are winning the customer base we really want or whether we are taking time away from the customers we should be chasing. At IncentOne, one day it was health plans, the next it was employers, the next it was distribution channels. In the beginning, you are willing to talk to anyone about your service because you are looking for positive feedback and validation. I am sure that when I took an Amtrak train to Boston, I tried to sell my health reward solution to the Amtrak employee that ran the concession stand.
We have this desire to go after any customer that shows interest—even if the customer is highly unlikely to need or want your solution. “We can go everywhere. We will go anywhere.” This is often the revenue strategy of the entrepreneur. Your perspective is, money is money, and we need more money.

It is natural to chase revenue. It is also natural to believe that everyone wants your product or service. But this isn’t as harmless as it sounds.

“Don’t chase every customer.” 

Problems With Chasing Every Customer

  • First – you have limited resources and your scarcest resource is time. Every minute you spend on one activity is a minute you don’t spend on another
  • Second – every new type of customer you chase requires you to learn the market, find those customers, create the right marketing message, hire people with market knowledge and develop credibility in that market. Doing that for one type of customer is hard enough. Trying to do it for multiple customer types is impossible.
  • Third – it is natural that you will encounter resistance from customers, especially if you are doing something new. It will take time to learn how to overcome objections or to help customers understand the value of your offering. If you are not committed to a path, you are likely to turn to another path when you do encounter the resistance as opposed to creatively working through it and learning what you need to know about that market segment and how to tailor your approach to the market. Going after every customer opportunity, or market segment, or responding to the inquiry of the day, seems like the fastest path to revenue, but often can be a real distraction from gaining traction in a market.

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