It’s not like, well, there’s just one method for ruling your territory. But the one thing that is critical to all of it, is identifying your area. Identifying your territory. Focusing in on it and making sure that you become a known commodity in that area. So that people have the opportunity to choose you.

David: Hi, and welcome to the podcast in today’s episode, cohost Jay McFarland, and I will be discussing the idea of ruling your territory. Welcome back, Jay.

Jay: Yeah. Thank you, David. This is a really interesting topic. I’ve been excited to get to this topic, ruling your territory, being the master of your general…

David: your domain

Jay: …area. Yeah, of your domain.

David: That was a Seinfeld episode, I think.

Jay: Yeah, that’s right. However you want to say it. So many of the things that we talk about, I don’t know if they’re top of mind for business owners or for salespeople. They have so many other things going on. For them to be thinking about market share or things like that and how that can affect their business, especially over the long haul.

David: Yeah. That’s why I think it’s great to discuss. Because when we are in the thick of it, we tend to forget about the fact that, whoever we are, if we’re a business owner or a salesperson, we are operating in a particular territory. And recognizing that we could be spread out, we could have a few customers. Let’s say we have two customers in one huge city, and we’ve got two customers in another huge city somewhere else. If we’re sort of spread out, but nobody else in either of those cities even know who we are, at that point we’re really not ruling our territory.

And this idea sort of traces along with the idea of dominating your market, which is something that we talk about quite often. You know, what is your market? What is your territory? How do you define it? Is it defined primarily geographically that you sell primarily in your small geographic area? In your area of town? Your city? Your state? Is it nationwide?

Is it with particular industries? How do you define it? Because that’s going to determine whether you are just inhabiting a territory or ruling it, dominating it.

Jay: I like that question. Are you just inhabiting? Are you just there? Or are you ruling it? And I think one of the things that can be done, and I don’t see this in a lot of small businesses, is just making a list of all of your potential clients.

And that should give you an idea of where you stand. And then if you know a list of who they’re using. And so, you know, your client and you know who your competitors are. I would think that that’s probably a good place to start.

David: It’s a great place to start. And also thinking in terms of the other people who are like your clients who operate in a similar area, either in a similar geographic area or a similar demographic, however, you’re defining your territory.

Also, when I use words like ruling and dominating, I don’t want them to sound as intimidating as some people interpret them to be. What I mean is that you’re essentially staking your claim. You’re saying, okay, look, this is an area where I want to do well. I want to excel. I want to be known. I want people to know me and I want to know other people in this particular market.

They’re not all going to do business with me. I recognize that, but I want to make sure that all of the people who could potentially use my products and services at least know that I exist so that they could consider me if it makes sense for us to work together.

Jay: Yeah. I think that’s really important. I think a lot of times people think about, well, I go in and I get the sale and if I don’t get the sale, well, then I’m done with that customer.

But if you make it more of I’m going to go in and get a relationship, instead of a sale. If you get the sale, that’s great. But if you don’t, what happens when the customer they’re using falls down?

David: Right.

Jay: When the customer they’re using makes a mistake or goes out of business. If you already have that relationship, well now you are going to be the first call, right? So that relationship, I think, is so important.

David: Yeah, I agree. And I think for most salespeople, the idea of relationship, it’s always a great talking point. Not always as well practiced as it should be. But it’s absolutely true. If we’re establishing relationships, that’s going to be great. And as many relationships as possible and as makes sense in a particular area.

So let’s say somebody’s focused on selling to a niche industry, a niche industry, however you want to pronounce it. And you’re selling to the tech industry. You want to make sure that you’re interacting with as many tech people as possible within the market or territory that you’ve identified so that they have the opportunity to potentially talk about you.

Oh, do you know Jay? Oh yeah. I know Jay! Right? Because if that happens, then you can start to develop a little bit of buzz. You can start to get more referrals. And when you become better known in a market, it just becomes a whole lot easier to dominate, you know, to actually score in that territory because they talk to somebody else, “oh yeah, I know them. I use them.” And when that happens enough, when they have enough of those conversations, they’re going to be a lot more likely to use you than if nobody else has any idea who you are.

Jay: Yeah, in that first blush cold call. Is this a reason to like go to Chamber of Commerce meetings, and get involved in those types of organizations?

David: It could be…

Jay: …to help build those relationships.

David: It could be. I think they definitely require investigation. Because some of them are great and some of them are terrible. And I know a lot of people who have gone to Chamber of Commerce functions and you go back week after week and it’s the same people and everybody’s trying to sell and nobody’s trying to buy.

But I think that also goes to the strategy. Because if it’s the same people coming each week, then you want to at least build relationships with them and find out who in their organizations could actually potentially buy from you. As opposed to “yeah, I don’t do that.” And we’re just going to stand around and eat food and drink drinks and not get anything accomplished business-wise. That can happen. So I think it’s a good idea to say, okay, how far can I take those relationships? If they can refer me to the people in their organization who either could use help regarding what I do. Or if they could introduce me to somebody else that they know who could potentially use that sort of help, then you can get some sort of viral effects going.

Jay: Yeah, I like that. I know you’ve also talked in the past about sending something to everybody who may be a potential customer. If you’re in the merchandising or print-on-demand business, sending them something with their logo or something like that, just so they’ve seen your name a couple of times. That can be a good start as well. Correct?

David: It can, and when you’re doing something like that, some people say, “well, I don’t want to spend the money to do that.” But when you realize that your time is worth at least as much as anything that you might be sending to someone, it can really change your perspective.

Some people are like, “well, I don’t want to spend 10 bucks and send somebody a promotional gift.” And you say, “Okay, well, are you going to spend three months of your life trying to figure out if this person is a good prospect for you?” What’s that worth? It’s worth a whole lot more than 10 bucks, probably. And so, if you can utilize something like that to get their attention, to get them engaged in conversation sooner, and to get them qualified in or out faster, it becomes worth a high multiple of whatever it is you would pay to send that out in the first place.

Jay: Well, and also maybe you don’t send it to every potential customer.

David: Right.

Jay: Maybe you send out 10 a month, you know, five a month, whatever you can budget and just have that as part of your plan. So you don’t have to write this huge check that you can’t afford right up front.

David: The other thing that something like that does, is it forces you to think about who it is that you’re reaching. Because you’re not going to want to do that with just anyone.

And that’s actually a good thing. Because it forces you to think, okay, this is a large company. This is a person who probably makes the buying decisions here. This is somebody who’s worth a $10 investment to even have a conversation and get them qualified in or out. So I think it does a lot of good things in that regard.

Jay: Yeah, I, love that idea. What else can I do as a business owner to focus on mastering the market?

David: Well, I think if you really look at where you are currently spending your time, again, is it geographic? Is it within a particular industry? Are you spread out all over or do you have a nice, tightly concentrated group of clients in a particular area? If you do then to be able to spread out from there is easier. You can spread out closer to home, essentially, closer to where you’re already dominating. If you automatically jump to a new area, a new pond, you know, you want to be a big fish in a small pond or whatever. If you’re jumping from pond to pond, you’re not going to get the traction you’re probably looking for.

So if you are established in a particular area, get as much business there as possible and then work to slowly spread out as close to that area as possible. If you are known in a number of different areas and you don’t have your business sort of consolidated, then explore which of those seems like the best opportunity for you.

If you’re operating in a number of different industries, for example. So if you’re dealing with manufacturing companies and you’re dealing with non-profits. Okay, which one seems more receptive to my message?

And then how can I work on cultivating and developing new clients within that particular one? And if you find out one’s working better than another, focus on that one and focus less on the one that’s not.

So I think a lot of it is just about building from where you are and growing things from where you are. And once again, it’s the idea if you’re taking dots all over the place and I’m here and I’m here and I’m here, it’s going to be a lot harder than if you’re really building a core anywhere.

So if you are in a number of places now, you can start building a core of business around the areas that you have. Again, whether it’s an industry or a geographic area, that’s going to allow you to start to dominate your area or mark your territory a lot better.

Jay: Mmm. I think, again, this is such an important conversation, because like when I go on Google AdWords, the first option it gives me is do I want to advertise to the whole United States?

And I’m like, well, yeah, that’s cool. I’d like the whole United States to use my product. But can you master that market? Can you get it to where a good portion of that market can know your name and who you are? The odds are probably not. But if you zero it down to your zip code or your general area, if that’s your type of product, then start there. Master that market and then expand.

That’s one of the beauties of at least the online marketing tools that we have. We can be so specific. Maybe your market is not geographic. Maybe it’s age. Maybe…

David: Right.

Jay: …it’s profession. Maybe it’s something else. And these tools allow us to zero in on that. It’s so amazing.

David: Yeah. And when you think about the idea of marketing to everyone, let’s say you start out a campaign. It could be Facebook, could be Google ads. Let’s say you’ve done some wide targeting where you’ve targeted the whole country or something like that. You can actually get a lot of good data from that as well. You could look at what are the leads that I got? Which leads were most valuable to me? And what do they have in common?

And you may notice that they are, Hey, the bulk of these came from certain states. So then I might want to focus on those states. So it can work both ways. You can start in a particular area and spread out from there. You can test a lot of different areas and then hone in on the ones that are most responsive to you.

Either of them will work. So it’s not like, well, there’s one way to do all this stuff. But the one thing that is critical to all of it, is identifying your area—identifying your territory. Focusing in on it and making sure that you become a known commodity in that area. So that people have the opportunity to choose you.

Jay: Yeah. And take advantage of the analytics that come along with that type of digital advertising. You can learn some tremendous, tremendous things about who came to your site. What type of person actually closed the sale? The tools that we have at our fingertips are amazing, but I think people feel intimidated sometimes by them.

So if you are, find somebody who can help you to interpret that data. Because if you can really identify your ideal customer, wow, can that help you in that sales funnel.

David: Right. And if you’ve been in business for any length of time, you know the types of customers that you like. You know enough about them to be able to probably target a lookalike audience, as they refer to it in social media marketing terms, and test it out. See what works for you. But just make sure that you’re focused on one particular area, one particular market.

You want to be the big fish in the small pond. And then, as you continue to grow, your pond gets bigger. And then you’re a big fish in a bigger pond. It just works.

Jay: I love that mentality. Because everybody who starts a business wants to be a global, you know, dominating…

David: Phenomenon!

Jay: That’s right! From day one, you know, go on Shark Tank, or whatever, and be this unbelievable deal.

But it’s just not very likely. You probably won’t be able to care for your customers the way that you need to. And it may overwhelm you. I mean, you may get so much business that you can’t handle it. And then that turns into a bunch of bad reviews and you’re wiped out, even though you had a great product. So kind of this slow, methodical process I think, David, is really important to talk about.

David: yeah, I had a situation years ago. We did some postcard deck advertising. This was probably back in the nineties. Where there was this company that would send out a packet of physical postcards that would have different businesses in them.

And they talked to me about this for a really long time. And I finally said, okay, I’m going to do this. And it was not inexpensive. It cost a lot of money. And they said, it’s going out to, I don’t know, it’s like a hundred, some thousand marketing directors and companies across the country. And I thought, okay, well, this should be good. And it was. They sent out the mailing and we got like 800 leads in a matter of a couple of weeks.

We didn’t have the staff for it. We didn’t have the ability to keep up with it. We got some business out of it. It way more than paid for itself. But there are probably 750 people who didn’t hear from us because we just couldn’t keep up with it. So I think there’s a definite advantage to focusing on your small pond, growing that as much as possible so that you can establish some relationships that will allow you to grow further.

Jay: I love it. Such great feedback. What a great story. How do people find out more?

David: Okay, well, if you’re already an Inner Circle member log into the site, we’ll be discussing this topic all this week. If you’re not just, go to for Inner Circle, that’s and join the conversation. You can join for a month.

You can join for a lifetime. If it makes sense for you, stick with it. If not say, Hey, this doesn’t work for me. But if you’re really serious about growing your business proactively, if you’re serious about identifying the markets that you want to reach and dominate and create an impression with, then I think this should be a no brainer for you.

Jay: Yeah, I absolutely love it. David, thank you so much for your time.

David: Thank you, Jay.

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