As Seth Godin wrote last week, “There’s a huge difference between “no one” and “almost no one. Almost no one is going to hire you. Almost no one is going to become a true fan…” Reading his piece, you realize quickly that his seemingly negative piece is genius — it is a very healthy mindset and applies to everything in life, including dating, friendships, and selling.
It especially applies to selling enterprise software.
Almost No One Will Buy Your Products
It is liberating to realize that you’re trying to sell to “Almost No One.” One of the greatest mistakes an enterprise software sales person makes is to believe that Almost Everyone they talk to could be a customer and to waste time pursuing the wrong prospects. A great sales person, on the other hand, spends an inordinate amount of time looking for Almost No One so that when they find that rare match, they can devote their energy to truly solving a problem for someone who truly needs to solve one, and soon.
Doesn’t every business have problems to solve? Absolutely. But plenty of things get in the way of actually solving anything. In fact, almost everything gets in the way of solving problems nearly all of the time. Fixing things is hard and nearly everyone, for a very variety of reasons, stay in their status quo.
Being Ready For Almost No One
Which is why finding Almost No One amongst the masses is tricky and important. Are you reaching Almost No One with your marketing campaign? Are you following up when Almost No One shows interest? Are you calling into Almost No One to help them self-identify? Do you have a plan for how to develop and prioritize Almost No One’s problem? Can you talk intelligently about how you solve Almost No One’s problem in a differentiating way? Is your selling team aligned around the value you bring to Almost No One? Can you close Almost No One?
Almost No One, when you find them, has a real problem to solve, an alignment with what you bring to the table, and a willingness to follow through on what has to be done. Almost No One will need to be educated on what you do and coached through the process, but Almost No One, when you approach things the right way, will buy from you. You’ll be successful selling to Almost No One.
Here’s his original piece. Thank you, Seth, for helping me to see things differently:
Almost no one
There’s a huge difference between “no one” and “almost no one”.
Almost no one is going to hire you.
Almost no one is going to become a true fan.
Almost no one is going to tell someone else about your work.
Almost no one is going to push you to make your work ever better.
If only 1% of the US population steps up, that’s 3,000,000 people in the category of “almost no one.”
If only one out of 10,000 internet users engages with you, that’s still hundreds of thousands of people.
The chances that everyone is going to applaud you, never mind even become aware you exist, are virtually nil. Most brands and organizations and individuals that fail fall into the chasm of trying to be all things in order to please everyone, and up reaching no one.
That’s the wrong thing to focus on. Better to focus on and delight almost no one.