The secret to sales starts with the right leads, and that’s all about who you target as a customer.
When David Jankelowitz, the founder of Repairs Pro, launched his business in 2011, he did so on the back of a software platform he had created for a different business he was involved in, a power tools and garden machine repairs shop.
“I was a full time software developer but I wanted to be involved in a small business too, and so I bought shares into a repair shop. My partner was old school. His whole business ran on little slips of paper.
"I started developing a tool to help us out, keep better track of job cards and hopefully increase our productivity and profits. I worked on it after hours because I was employed full time, and two years later we had this great system that made a huge difference to our bottom line. I realised I had a tool that would benefit other businesses too, and Repairs Pro was born.”
It soon became apparent to the SME owner that his tool worked for any industry that followed a job card system though, and so this became the company’s core focus – how can we approach as many businesses, across as many sectors, as possible?
What he has since learnt is that by trying to be everything to everyone, he was in fact losing any specialist edge he had, and actually stifling the business’s growth.
Taking a step back
“It was tough to step back and realise that even though we had a specialised tool, we had stopped being specialists,” he explains. “I was proud of the fact that the tool worked for any industry, and yet it was completely the wrong approach.
“When we started I understood the powertools and garden machine repairs market. I could go to a customer and sympathise with their pain points, because I’d experienced them myself.
"I knew exactly what they needed, and could demonstrate how my solution would help them. I wasn’t able to do this in the other industries we started branching into, which meant I wasn’t actually demonstrating the worth of my business to prospective customers.”
The shift to specialist
Once Jankelowitz made the decision to specialise, he chose three industries to focus on and started shifting from a ‘spray and pray’ approach to a strategy that has resulted in far more qualified leads.
“I had to carefully evaluate the industries I really was a specialist in, and then narrow this down to the industries I wanted to be operating in, with the best prospects. We chose three core industries to target: Audio visual repairs, security and electronic equipment repairs. Now I only had three industries, and I could do proper market research in each of them. We were suddenly specialist again.”
What Jankelowitz has realised is that it all comes down the quality of your leads.
“If you really understand an industry, you can target the right companies, understand their pain points, and have a much higher conversion rate as a result. It takes time to really do proper market research though, which is why you can’t be in too many industries.
"I needed to find additional time to focus on this, but it’s been worth it, and we’re seeing real growth as a result. At first I thought specialising would shrink our available market, but through properly qualified leads, we did the exact opposite.”