Monday, July 23, 2012

The Ideal Client

One of the first concepts I learned when starting my business was to identify my target market.  It was an easy concept to understand.  Having a target to aim for greatly improved my chances of hitting the bullseye and landing a client.  A harder concept to understand was that not all clients are good clients.  When you are just getting started, there is a tendency to take any warm body that walks through your door.  But this often results in clients who don't understand and respect the value you offer.  These are the clients you can't seem to please know matter what you do.  The ones who don't pay on time - or at all - because they weren't happy with your work.  They are rude and ill-mannered, demanding and critical.  To put it bluntly, they can be real jerks.  They are the clients you want to let someone else have.

Instead, let's focus on your ideal client.  Yes, there really is such a thing.  And they are not that difficult to find.  You just have to know where to look.  But first - you have to know who they are.

Take a look at your current clients.  Who do you value most?  Why?  Do they bring you the most business?  Do they refer you to others?  Do they understand your value and are willing to pay for it?  Do they respect you?  Do they do their part to make your business relationship work?  Do you enjoy working with them?  If this fits any of your clients, chances are they are your IDEAL client.  And by analyzing what you know about them, you can determine what type of prospect is your ideal client.  What age group do they fall in?  Are they predominantly male or female?  What types of business do they work for/what is their occupation?  What is their income level?  What is their level of education?  As you categorize your known perfect clients, you will soon have a picture of what type of prospect you are looking for.  And once you know that, it makes targeting them much easier.

If all of this sounds like a lot of work, it is.  But it's work that will pay off handsomely in the long run.  Why spend your time on the clients who make you crazy when you can work with those who are a perfect fit?  If the relationship is solid, your clients will be happy.  And happy clients lead to repeat business and referrals.  Which leads to a happier you!

Here's your assignment for the week.  Make a list of all your clients.  Rank them in order of value.  Then look at your top-ranking clients, the ones you value and look forward to working with.  Make a list of their characteristics.  Use some of the questions above to help you.  Look for patterns.  Look for common characteristics.  Look for your ideal client.

1 comment:

Heidi Caswell said...

Better to have ideal clients than the ones you wish you never had. I was listening to a business podcast last week, and it was about pricing, how if too high, not enough value for cost, but if you price in the lowest 10% you draw the clients you don't want, who complain and whine. Ideal clients are in the higher end of pricing, where you deliver great value for your money.