You deserve the best. Are you getting it?
I doubt there’s an entrepreneur alive who hasn’t gone through the stage where she defines “my ideal client” as “anyone who’s able to pay me.” And who could blame her? Money is helpful in so many ways: buying groceries, paying for a place to live, keeping the heat on…
But here’s the thing: Ability to pay is one of those necessary-but-not-sufficient criteria for accepting a client. A prospect with perfectly good money could turn out to be a perfectly horrible person to work with – a PITA, or “pain in the ass” client.
You deserve better. You deserve to work with the most fabulous people in the world – your ideal clients. The question is, Do you know who they are and what they need?
A straightforward and very effective way to answer this question is to create the profile of your ideal client in three steps (a process I learned from Fabienne Fredricksen). Today we’ll look at the first part of the profile: Just how do you describe your ideal client?
Ideal client: one who loves the huge value you love providing her with.
Here are some questions that will launch you on creating a crystal-clear description of those clients you love serving at your highest level of expertise:
- Do you have a preference for working with female, male, cisgender, or transgender clients?
- What age are your favorite clients? Does that even matter to you?
- What business roles do they fill (e.g., C-level corporate office, entrepreneur, etc.)?
- Are they in a particular phase of the business cycle (e.g., start-up, rapid growth, plateaued, etc.)?
- Does their income matter to you (assuming they have enough money to pay you what your expertise is worth)?
- What industry do they work in? Is that even relevant to you?
- Do you prefer working with specific personality styles (e.g., driver, expressive, analytical, amiable)?
- Do you require certain personality characteristics in your clients (e.g., willingness to be uncomfortable, commitment to personal growth, authenticity, self-responsibility, lack of blaming or whining)? Are there certain characteristics which are deal breakers for you?
- Do they operate from a particular faith-based perspective? Is their approach to business strictly secular? Is spirituality (not religion) an important aspect of their business? Or is this a non-issue for you?
- Has it been a while since you defined your ideal client? Have your own preferences and requirements changed so that it’s time to refine or revise your definition?
You’ll benefit in so many ways from being crystal-clear on who your ideal client is:
- You’ll use your resources wisely – no more spreading yourself thin trying to market to everyone.
- You’ll find it easier to identify how and where to interact with those clients.
- You’ll enjoy yourself more.
- You’ll find it easier to make decisions about what business-development activities to take on and which to let go.
- You’ll develop a reputation as a specialist and subject-matter expert for these people.
- You’ll be able to charge correspondingly higher prices for the higher perceived value of what you offer.
Case in point: My colleague Emma Viglucci is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. While her training and experience enable her to address a wide variety of interpersonal challenges, she has come to specialize in working with “highly committed, motivated and success-oriented couples”. After completing her Successful Couples Process (sm), her clients say things like “My experience with Emma has been life changing” and “[We] feel totally comfortable, safe, joyful, hopeful and resilient under Emma’s guidance.”
So Emma works with people she enjoys, makes a huge difference in their lives, and celebrates her 15th anniversary in business this year. Seriously, what’s not to like?
What success have you enjoyed as a result of focusing on your ideal clients? Now would be a great time to let the rest of us know so we can celebrate with you.
Or are you still huffing and puffing because your main criterion for working with a prospect still seems to be “willing to give me money”? If that’s the case, I can help.
One of my best things is cutting through information overload to enable my (ideal) clients to focus on what’s truly important for growing their businesses. Would we consider each other ideal? Maybe…or not. But it’s almost always worth spending 30 or 40 minutes getting acquainted to make that determination and feel good about it.
Wanna give that a try? Just figure out when you’ve got time for that get-acquainted call, then email me with “Are you my ideal?” in the subject line. We’ll talk and decide whether we move forward or move on.
(Thanks to Ben Sutherland for posting the image of Nadia Comaneci’s perfect “10” gymnastics performance in the Creative Commons section of Flickr.)This entry was posted in business development and tagged effectiveness, focus. Bookmark the permalink.
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