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Years ago an experiment showed that Dunkin’ Donuts customers and Starbucks customers, asked to use the other coffeeshop for a month with all their coffee paid for, all refused to change to the other store at the end of the month. These are tribes, set in their ways and preferences. The Dunkin’ people felt as if they had invaded someone’s living room, and the Starbucks people were repelled by the hard seats and cheap surfaces.

Talk show hosts don’t try to “convert” listeners to their point of view. They are all singing to the choir. The know their audience thoroughly and cater to it. Advertisers know exactly what demographic they’re reaching on these shows.

That’s why it’s so important for you to identify your ideal economic buyer. We have limited time and resources and they must be aimed at the people most likely to appreciate and purchase our value. This is not an idle exercise. It’s why those coffee shops and talk shows do so well. We create communities, not tribes, but it’s far easier to draw people to our communities if we know who the ideal people are.

Anyone who tells me “everyone is a prospect” I know is an amateur. And they’re probably making instant coffee at home.

Written by

Alan Weiss is a consultant, speaker, and author of over 60 books. His consulting firm, Summit Consulting Group, Inc., has attracted clients from over 500 leading organizations around the world.

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