Finding those top 20% buyers

Yesterday I talked about Top 20% Buyers, companies that will pay a premium rate for your services.I got a great question that basically went like this: “How do I find those Top 20% Buyers?”Fan freaking tastic question!I have two top-level answers. 1) I don’t know (specifically for you) but 2) I have some ideas you might be able to try out anyway.Answer #1 is really me saying “it depends”. Maybe you have a well-connected relative and that is how you find Top 20% Buyers. Maybe you went to an Ivy League school and developed a strong network that yields lots of work you can price well.Most of us don’t have those advantages, so we have to find those desirable buyers ourselves. Here are some of the ways you might do that:

  1. Build up a flow of leads that is so strong you can cherry-pick the top 20%. If you need an average of 10 projects a year and you close 20% of the prospects you have a sales conversation with and you want to pick the best 20% of the leads that come your way, then you need to generate 250 leads per year, or a little more than 20 leads per month. Not just email signups for a list, but solid leads for project work.
  2. Look expensive to help repel price-sensitive buyers.
  3. Emphasize service offerings that appeal to less price-sensitive buyers.
  4. Publish pricing and use price points that are expensive.
  5. Package service offerings in more profitable ways.

I think all 5 of those are fine options, but there’s a more fundamental issue to consider.What could you deliver that’s exceptionally valuable and therefore worth charging a premium price for?You can’t answer that question without first having a focus on a certain type of client. Your so-called “ideal client”.Value is all about context, and software developers (masters of abstraction that you are) can produce value is sooooo many different contexts. If you can pick a context for your services where they automatically produce exceptional value, then you’ve won half the game.The value of basic HTML skills in the mid-90’s was OFF THE CHARTS. High-school kids with those skills at that time could earn a solid upper middle class living with just those skills and enough hutzpah to market themselves a bit. Those same skills now are not nearly as valuable. They’re not worthless, but they’re not enough to earn a solid upper middle class living. Same skills, different context, and the resulting value is way different.After you have a vision for how your skills could produce exceptional value for a specific type of client, you might then think about how you could deliver your services in a way that’s exceptionally valuable.I can’t give you a 1-size-fits-all prescription for doing that. It depends too much on your ideal client. Some will value speed and predictable cost, for example, while others might value a custom experience that necessitates less speed and less predictability in cost. But if you can decide who you want to serve (that usually looks like a market vertical or a clearly-defined audience), then you can figure out how best to serve them–how best to create exceptional value for them.If you’re wanting help figuring out your who, then might help.-PKnow a self-employed software developer who might benefit from specialization? Send ’em this free gift! Details here –>