The Networker #39: How To Define Your Target Market (And Increase Referrals From Networking)

11 Oct, 2023
Read time: 3 minutes & 22 seconds

“What do you do?”

The most common networking question.

The second most?

A variation of; “What types of business do you work with?”

How you answer this is crucial and is what I’m exploring today.

Providing you with a formula and process to create a clear and succinct answer, by defining your target market.

Allowing your network to help you easier.

To open the floodgates to more and better quality referrals.

Unfortunately, most networkers answer it extremely broadly.

Or with; “we can work with anyone”.

rolls eyes

Not very useful.

It’s time to get specific.

It’s time to open to referral floodgates.

I want you to think of two people:

  1. An owner of an accountancy firm
  2. Anyone

Who came to mind quicker? Which person was easier to picture first?

I’m assuming number 1.

The point is, the more specific you are, the easier it is to picture who you’re looking for.

Now, put yourself in the shoes of people you meet when networking.

How can you make it easier for them?

Because when I ask someone at a networking event; “what kind of businesses do you work with?”

And their reply is they can work with “anyone” or “everyone”.

I cry a little bit inside.

Because they’re not helping themselves. And they’re also not helping me.

And believe it or not, others want to help you if they can. It’s human nature. It’s the Law of Reciprocity.

You’ve just got to help them.

Let’s do so by getting specific and defining your target market.

How To Define Your Target Market

If networking well, opportunities from referrals will far outweigh the amount you can get directly yourself.

You can build an army of advocates.

But many networkers leave much of that on the table.

Simply by not being clear and specific on who you’re looking to meet.

Your network has got to know what to listen and look out for.

So when the opportunity arises, you come to mind.

Being able to work with “anyone” doesn’t really help them.

So a way I’ve learned to define target market is from three pillars:

  1. Demographic – what do they look like?
  2. Geographic – where are they?
  3. Psychographic – how do they think?

Let’s build yours.


This could be a number of factors, including:

  1. Title/Position
  2. Industry/Sector
  3. No of Employees
  4. Turnover
  5. Age of Business

I suggest defining 1 or 2 from this.

But lets’ move onto…


In today’s remote working world, it’s even easier to say you can work with anyone, anywhere!

Even less helpful.

Here, you need to think:

  1. Town/City
  2. County/State
  3. Region

Usually one is enough from this.

Before lastly considering…


How do your target market think? What are they looking to achieve? What problem do they have that you help solve?

Answering one or two of these questions is the final part.

This can then be put together through a simple formula.

Creating Your Target Market Formula

[What You Do] for [Demographic 1] with [Demographic 2] in [Geographic] who [Psychographic].


Let’s us an example.

Say your company provides I.T services.

You could provide I.T services to anyone, anywhere.

Let’s get specific and define the target market further:

  • I.T
  • I.T for Legal Firms
  • I.T for Legal Firms, with 5-50 employees
  • I.T for Legal Firms, with 5-50 employees, in London
  • I.T for Legal Firms, with 5-50 employees, in London, who are looking to scale

A much clearer picture for you.

A much clearer picture for your network.

Immediately, I know how I can help you, and what to listen out for.

“I.T for anyone” would not have the same impact.

The Wrap Up

The concern you may have is being too specific. That you’ll cut off people or miss out on opportunities.

You’ll find the opposite happens.

Not only will the quality of referrals improve, you may even be introduced to people that don’t fit your exact target market, but are close to it. And you’ll likely still be able to help them.

Remember, good networkers get as much satisfaction from making an introduction, as they do from being on the receiving end of one.

So take some time to define (or redefine) your target market using the formula.

Then try it at your next event.

To help yourself and your fellow networkers.

Because if you’re networking to meet “anyone”, you’re networking to meet no one.

What Is The Networker?

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1 networking tip, trend or tidbit – every Wednesday morning.

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