It doesn’t matter what type of business you run. You only have so many hours in a week. However hard you try, you can’t create any more time, you can only spend it. Talking of which, this blog post is fairly long, so grab a coffee now and invest some time working this out.
Why would you spend your precious time dealing with clients that are a pain to deal with, don’t appreciate what you do for them and don’t pay on time?
It’s sounds stupid, but most of us do it.
The only way to break this cycle of working with timewasters is to create you “ideal client profile”.
Once you’ve done this, all your marketing and sales efforts will be focused around getting those clients on board.
Creating Your Ideal Client Profile
Often I hear “This sounds like it may take some time and i’m really busy. Will it be worth it?”
Well, let’s just imagine you are planning an epic journey across Europe (or the US or anywhere for that matter). This is something you’ve wanted to do for ages, you’ve even taken a year off work to do it. You’ve hired a camper van and you’ve got room for up to six of your friends to come along.
With those limited spaces, would you really invite the people you know that annoy you, make a mess and will moan for hours about the state of the world? Or would your invite the people whose company you really enjoy?
The latter of course.
It wouldn’t take you long to work out who those people would be because you’d spot them straight away by their characteristics.
If we are serious about our business, then it is like an epic journey. Except it isn’t one that lasts a few weeks, it can last years and years. So it’s even more important we get the right people on board. This may include having to get rid of some existing clients that don’t fit the profile, but we’ll talk about that later.
In business terms, the characteristics are split into two areas (get ready for the marketing words…) Demographics and Psychographics.
We established in the first post that we MUST work out our ideal client if we want our business to succeed.
One of the first places to start is “demographics”. These are the basic component of an Ideal Client profile.
If your business is targeting individuals, then Demographics include:
- Employment Status
- Income level
- Education Level
If your business targets business, then the Demographics you need to consider are:
- Industry Type
- Number of Employees
- Type of Business
- Geographical Scope of Business
- Revenue Levels
(Note, these categories are inspired by the Duct Tape Marketing book)
So the next step is to go through this process. Keeping in mind the best clients you’ve had in the past and the clients you want in the future.
The more clear and concise you can be, the better.
The challenge with this exercise is feeling like you are alienating other parts of the market that may be good clients. Often, this is just wishful thinking. If people just happen to be attracted to the offers you have, then that’s a bonus and you still have the opportunity to see if they are a good fit for you or not.
Ok, now this is where some of you will start to think ‘this all sounds a little fluffy, I might just skip this…’
I know I used to. But the thing is, that if you do the following, you will be miles ahead of your competition that stop once they have worked out their ideal client’s demographics.
You are selling to people. People are much more than just their demographic information.
People have behaviors, attitudes, worldviews, goals, beliefs.. and if you aren’t aware of this side of your clients you will never really engage with them to the level that you really could.
These are what marketers call psychographics. It’s essentially the emotional makeup of your prospects. This will be more of an art than a science and the questions you can ask yourself could start with:
- What do your clients want to get out of their business / life?
- What’s holding them back?
- What big issues do they have that you can help fix?
- What magazines do they read?
- What groups do they join?
- Where do they vacation?
- What are their hobbies?
As a side note. When you start this research online, you’ll find forums and groups that your ideal client belongs to and if you take the time to join them you’ll be networking right alongside your perfect clients.
If you have existing customers, you could ask for more details about their lifestyle, values and opinions. It doesn’t hurt to get to know your current clients better anyway. You never know, you may keep them for longer just because you took some interest.
Now it’s Your Turn
This concludes three short posts that you can hopefully put into action right away.
What’s the profile of your Ideal Client?
Take some time to work it out. There are many more techniques than the ones we’ve looked at here, we are just scratching the surface. This blog is all about taking action though, so let’s use the main elements covered.
The next thing you’ll have to ask yourself is this “Is this profile evident in the way I communicate my product and services?”. Again, we’ll blog more about that in the future.
Tell me how you get on in the comments below.