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To Attract The Right Prospects, Be Willing to Repel The Wrong Ones

Posted by Doug Davidoff

Jan 12, 2007 11:37:17 AM

I’ve just returned from a meeting with a group of other fast-growth entrepreneurs.

Many of these executives are struggling with a common problem.  Each of them have an offering worthy of attention – but their message fails to grab the attention their offering deserves.  As I see it, their problem is that they are only focusing on half of what it takes to develop a great message.

It seems these entrepreneurs have forgotten (or maybe they never knew) that a great message does two things equally well:


    • it attracts the right prospects

    • it repels the wrong ones


Most executives and their marketing teams focus only on attraction.  Working on the theory that any attention they get is good, they attempt to cast as broad a net as possible in hopes of attracting more opportunities.  While on the surface, this seems to make sense, but realistically, trying to “be all things to all people” only brings you problems (wasted resources, long sales cycles, and clients that aren’t a good fit, for example). What’s even worse, in today’s over-stimulated world, this unfocused approach results in a message that may not offend anybody, but doesn’t attract anybody either.

Unless you focus manically on attracting more of your best few clients to the exclusion of all others, you can’t hope to establish an identity. Think about it – we admire people who stand for something and are consistent in their beliefs even if we don’t agree with them.  We tend to mistrust people who buddy up to us when we know they know we have nothing in common.

So, while developing a great message will never be as simple as 1-2-3, here are some basic steps to start improving yours.


    1. Determine who your message is supposed to attract.  This means you must define your Best Few clients.  What common attributes do your Best Few clients have?

    1. Determine who your message is supposed to repel.  Who are the ‘prospects’ that exist in your market that you do not want to attract.  What common attributes do these people share?

    1. What are the differences between your list from question #1 and from question 2?

    1. How can you deliver a message that demonstrates you clearly understand your Best Few markets?


Answer these four questions, then take a look at your current messaging materials. Are you deliberately pushing away people who are not potentially good clients? You better be.  It will make your messaging more focused and build more of a bond with the prospects you really want.

Topics: B2B Sales Strategy