The most successful companies in the world are totally clear about who they want to attract. It’s obvious on their websites, in their marketing and advertising, even in how they talk about their companies. We’re all familiar with the large brands that do a great job of connecting with their customers every step of the way. Apple wanted to connect with non-conformists (“Think Different”). Geico works hard to attract the people who want to save money more than anything else when it comes to car insurance. BMW wants to draw people in who want luxury and wouldn’t consider a Hyundai, even though it could get them from point A to point B.
Big companies have marketing departments filled with really smart people tasked with identifying their ideal customers. But you, the owner of a small or mid-sized business, don’t have a marketing department filled with geniuses. In fact, you may be your marketing department. You can find your ideal client or customer, too. In fact, you may be surprised how easy it is.
Here’s an example. Darren Wurz is a financial advisor in Kentucky. He can help just about anyone build a comfortable financial future. But he discovered there is one specific type of person for whom he is perfectly aligned to help. And for whom his education and experience makes a real difference.
Darren came to me a few months back for help with his website content. He knew it wasn’t really connecting and felt it didn’t well represent him or his company. The first thing I did was to ask him to describe his ideal client to me. His answer began with these two words: “Anyone who…” Whenever I hear those two words, I know we have a some work to do! It’s totally logical that Darren didn’t want to turn away anyone he could help. After all, he had a business to grow. I know, however, that it would be nearly impossible to create compelling content with Darren if he tried to connect with everyone.
At first, he was a bit skeptical about the ideal client identification process. Darren wasn’t sure he wanted to specialize. I understand. Who wants to leave money on the table? But as we worked through the process he had one of those aha! moments. Darren realized that his very best current clients, those who were the most valuable to his firm and who he also absolutely loved working with (and whose lives he had really changed) all fit into a very specific category. Aside from being within 5-10 years of retirement they also shared a lot of other characteristics.
I told him, “We don’t have to work hard to find your ideal client. He is already here. Let’s figure out who he or she is and attract more of them!”
So, we updated Darren’s website content and his marketing. We even aligned his elevator speech around his ideal client. Today, almost every new client that hires Darren matches his ideal client prototype almost exactly. He’s becoming known in his community as the go-to person if you’ve had a successful career, you have a healthy retirement account, you’re close to retirement, and you’re worried that your savings won’t last for the rest of your life.
The reason I tell this story is this: if you’ve been in business for any length of time, you’re perfectly set-up to find your ideal client or customer. If the idea of specialization makes you queasy think about this: zero-ing in on your ideal client or customer doesn’t mean you have to say no to people who don’t fit your prototype exactly. Say yes all you want. But it does mean that you are going to devote your time, energy, and resources to attracting those specific people who you know see value in what you offer and are willing and able to pay you for it.
Today I want to share with you what could be a surefire way to find your ideal client or customer. Disclaimer: this is a mini-version of what I do with my private clients, but for some of you it will help immensely right off the bat. Have fun with it!
A Surefire Way Find Your Ideal Client or Customer
Step 1. Choose a Client or Customer You’d Like to Clone
Go thru your list. Pick out a few people you loved doing business with or the who you know you made a big difference in his or her life. This person must be someone who paid your best fee (as in, not someone who you love but for whom you bartered or gave a discount). Use this person as your model for your ideal client.
Step 2. List Characteristics
Write down every characteristic you can think of about that person. Even things that don’t seem to relate to what you offer (like, what kind of car he or she drives). Here’s some help: Click here to download the free workbook: 5 Things You Must Know about Your Ideal Client.
Step 3. Fine-Tune
Could you tweak your prototype to be an even a better fit? What would you like to change? Go ahead and change it. What you want to create is a prototype of your perfect client or customer. Even if that person doesn’t exist in your company right now.
Step 4: Go Get’em
Adjust all your public-facing media (your website, your blogs, your emails, your social media…all of it) so you speak directly to what your ideal client or customer wants more than anything else in the world as it relates to what you offer. Look at all your marketing through that lens. Adjust and adjust and adjust.
Here’s what another of my clients had to say about this process:
“The ideal client model really does work. It took patience and perseverance to finesse and envision my ideal client, but I did it. It also helped to develop my brand statement. Now, clients find me, and they pay what is fair. More importantly, I’ve developed close working relationships, which by default, create return business and referrals. I’m at the point where I won’t be able to take on new clients for the next three to six months. Thanks, Betsy. You rock! I’m so glad the word is getting out about what you do. As I said, the model works.” – Sheri McLeod Rose, Precision Copyediting, LLC
Now don’t worry if you feel some resistance around this. Most people do. But I assure you that when you find your ideal client or customer magic will happen in your business. I can almost guarantee it.
Give me 30 mins and I’ll give you a tip about your ideal client (or customer) that will make a difference in your business right now. Click here to schedule.