Which service operator do you think is more successful at attracting qualified customers? The one, that when asked to describe his ideal client, states:

“We try to attract anyone interested in having a car professionally washed.”


“We attract clients who value their car experience and want
to extend the life of their car by having it professionally detailed.”

If both service providers perform custom auto washing and detailing, the second operator is probably more successful at attracting clients willing to pay for the custom level of services offered.

Unless you have an unlimited amount of time to learn new skills or funds to hire workers with the expertise you lack, you can not service everyone successfully.

Working to attract the right opportunities that complement your talents, skills and background are critical to becoming successful. Valued experts are paid top dollars for their expertise. Take the IT professional who specializes in one or two software packages. If this individual understands the market and remains on the cutting edge of technology he/she can most likely bill out at the higher end of the market because being selective allows him/her to concentrate on obtaining experiences and training critical to becoming known as an expert.

In corporate America, as in small business America, if you have a background in a specialized area you can not assume that because you are bright and a quick study, you will automatically be able to successfully transition into a new department or run a division without additional training, coaching, etc.

According to marketing experts, you should attempt to narrow your message to attract qualified opportunities. Remember, some prospects or job opportunities simply are not a good match for you and would be better served by someone else. A general message might attract a crowd that includes clients you can not serve. But, a narrow, more focused message will attract opportunities that better match your desired outcome.

Take a friend telling a colleague (outside of his firm) that he was interested in finding a new job. He failed to define exactly what he wanted and ended up with a number of offers and word got around the community (because he was in a specialized industry) that he was looking. His supervisor approached him to find out why he was interested in leaving the organization. What would have served him better was to have defined his desired opportunity, directly approached organizations that had positions of choice and directly pursued those or used a professional head hunter to provide leads specific to his desires.

One of the greatest experiences as a professional has been staying at nice hotels while traveling for business. If the hotel has high performance employees they tend to spend a considerable amount of time managing your expectations. Positive experiences at these hotels have occurred because employees clarify in detail what to expect, ask for constant feedback and provide additional options.

Remember, if you are an employee, the best gift you can give your boss is a plan of action for the unexpected (contingency plan) and dialog to help manage expectations of your performance.

Take the example of a wig shop owner who provides high-end wigs to women of distinction in the $250 plus range. If someone wants a quick wig for a masquerade party or a run-around wig, this is not the shop for her. The successful wig shop owner will have clients who understand that wigs in her shop are custom and will willing to pay more money and expect a certain level of service.


Things are not always as they seem. Don’t get caught up thinking that just because you’re busy, your company is making money or you are adding value to your employer.

Take charge of your business and your career to determine what path you wish to pursue to succeed. Send the right message to those who can make a difference and attract qualified opportunities to help you take the money home.

Walter Turek, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Paychex, makes the point in the foreword of the book, “Make the Leap: From Mom & Pop to Good Enough to Sell,” tha