Do you really need an ideal client?
Do you really need an ideal client? No. Success is possible without ever claiming a specific niche.
I’ve spoken with many entrepreneurs who work with everyone. Variety, they claim, prevents boredom. Selecting a specific target audience feels limiting. Other entrepreneurs resist choosing a specific niche because they’re afraid of not reaching clients whom they can help, but don’t fall into that exact category.
Newbies frequently lack an ideal client for a different reason. Accepting a broader range of clients helps them to get their business off the ground. It may be too early in the game to choose one target audience. They haven’t figured it out yet. Sometimes the target audience chooses you.
Now you may be wondering why choose an ideal client? Here are 5 reasons.
- Aim. Knowing exactly who to aim for improves your effectiveness and it’s more efficient.
- Expert. Gaining expert status is easier for specialists. Solving a specific problem helps establish you as an authority.
- Marketing. Targeted marketing is like speaking the love language of your ideal client. Your message deeply resonates with them.
- Networking. It’s easier to discover exactly where to find your target audience.
- Income. Specialists earn more money than generalists.
Whether you realize it, or not, you’re in the business of customer satisfaction. Marketing, advertising and sales have greater impact once you identify the very best customer for your product or service.
Where to start?
Most entrepreneurs usually start out with demographics. This includes marital status, geography, income, education level. You’ve heard all this before. Demographics will gather logistical information about your ideal client. These are the dry and boring details. Demographics are better than nothing. However, something better exists.
Determine the psychographics of your ideal client. This helps to decipher why clients choose you instead of someone else. Here’s where the personality, habits, values and concerns of your target audience. You’ll connect with them on a more meaningful, emotional level. Then the guesswork is eliminated. You’ll know exactly what moves your ideal client to work with you.
Skip the traditional client profile
Are you convinced that you need an ideal client? If so, then let’s dig deeper and get some specifics. Creating an avatar is the first step. It’s a fancy word for a client profile. The difference between a traditional client profile and an avatar lies in the details. Your avatar is a manifestation of your ideal client. I prefer an avatar that’s based upon someone you already helped instead of a purely fictitious person.
This is one of the first steps I help my clients work on. Creating an avatar is core for your marketing and messaging. Develop one before you dig into building your email list, marketing, packages, programs and pricing.
Set some uninterrupted time aside to answer these questions:
- Clarity. Identify your favorite one specific client. Who have you helped that you enjoyed working with and this person understood the value of your services? List the exact results they received from your services or product.
- Changes. What additional benefits, outcomes, transformations or changes happened because they worked with you?
- Consequences. What would have happened if they would have chosen NOT to work with you? Since this is hypothetical it’s okay to be creative with your answer.
- Challenges. List all the primary challenges that your ideal client wants to resolve. Highlight the ones which your product or service specifically resolves.
Amanda, a bookkeeper, went through this exercise with me. Specializing never occurred to her so she served a wide range of clients. Amanda’s favorite client was Brenda, a chiropractor.
Specific is preferable
I asked Amanda about the exact results Brenda received. She said, “Brenda was embarrassed to get started. All of her receipts were thrown into a shopping bag. Since we’ve been working together, Brenda’s books are up to date. Now she has a better handle on her finances. I showed her how to get monthly profit and loss statements with the push of a button. And instead of filing for an extension, she was proud to file her taxes on time without worrying about mistakes.”
Amanda had to think about the additional benefits for a moment. Suddenly her face lit up as she claimed, “Brenda plans to renovate her office and we’ve talked about how to budget for that. Some strategic changes were made since she now knows which services are the most profitable. In fact we talked about ways to generate more income and she’s adding a massage therapist to her practice. That additional income will help pay for the office renovation.”
The downside to doing things as usual
If Brenda didn’t choose to work with Amanda, then all her receipts would have stayed in the shopping bag by her desk. She wouldn’t have any idea about her finances or cash flow. Late fees would accrue as she missed payment deadlines and ran up her credit cards. “Brenda would have anxiety as tax time rolled and putting it all off until the last possible moment.”
Amanda smiled as we moved onto the challenges. “Brenda hated doing the books. Trying to figure out where to put all the numbers was a nightmare for her. Hiring me was a relief. It freed her up from something she dreaded. She knows everything is in good order and not worried about filing her taxes.”
Amanda entertained the idea of a practice filled with highly appreciative clients. Finding other chiropractors similar to Brenda was appealing. She loved taking over their books so they were free to do what they enjoyed most. Numbers were fun for her.
The local chiropractors association met monthly. Brenda invited her to attend as a guest.
Ideal clients make things simpler
Entrepreneurs need an ideal client because it helps simplify the process. Start to identify who you enjoy working with and how you can help them. Explore how your services make an impact that’s beyond the obvious. The cost of not working with you and continuing to tolerate things as they’ve always been is a hidden element that entrepreneurs typically overlook. Working through these questions sets the stage for everything else in your business. The process of attracting clients to your business simplifies once you select your ideal client.