Management October 3, 2011 Last updated September 18th, 2018 2,130 Reads share

How Do I Find My Ideal Clients?

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I’ve often heard business described as a three legged stool, leave out one leg and sitting on the stool will cause you to topple over at best and constantly struggle to maintain your balance at worst, which is exhausting and eventually you will fall over anyway.

These three legs are:

  • Finances
  • Clients
  • Marketing

In this post I’m dealing with the Clients leg of the stool.

This might seem a bit of a doh! type question, yet when I ask my coaching clients to describe their ideal clients they often have trouble doing just that.  Often the phrase I hear most is “Everybody who wants what I have to offer”.

Going further into their mindset I enquire where they will find them and this is where they hit their first wall.

Again often the first response is “Anywhere I can get them” and when I ask how that is going they usually reply that it is very tough for them.

For many of them advertising is an expense that they can’t afford as much as they feel they need it and it feels like a vicious circle finding the money to pay for advertising, which will draw in some clients to cover those costs spent on advertising.

Asking why they are casting their net so wide they often reply that in this climate they can’t afford to leave anybody out, yet when we look at the types of advertising they have to engage in they often realise that it is so generic that most people just ignore it, including their ideal clients and then feel that they are wasting their time.

Unfortunately most of them are wasting their advertising budget too.

Getting specific with the types of people your service is suitable for is the very first step in finding your ideal client.

The more specific you become the smaller the market is, but the type of client you are sending your message out to will hear it loud and clear and those that you are not targeting will simply ignore it.

One of the best ways I have used to work out who my ideal clients are is to do up a client profile.

When I do this I get very, very specific with the details:

  • who they are – often helps to give them a name
  • their ages
  • education level
  • income level
  • types of areas they live in
  • their worries
  • their triumphs
  • their hobbies
  • the types of employment or business they have.

There are lots and lots more details that can be added to this depending on the type of client profile you need.  The more details you have the easier it is to weed out non-ideal clients.

For instance if you are targeting women who love expensive jewellery and you have a client profile with a low income and high debt, then this is not an ideal client.  However women with high incomes would be potential ideal clients.

As one client of mine discovered once she specified who they were, with a little bit of tweaking she could target another specific client with small changes to the message and then have two very specific, but different types of clients both buying the same product from her.

Having learnt over the last few years that I can do a little for a lot of slightly interested people or a lot more for a few keen people I chose the latter.  Which are you doing?

“Image from Richard Peterson/Shutterstock.”

Mairéad Kelly

Mairéad Kelly

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