Who is Your Ideal Client or Customer?
If you don’t know who your ideal clients or prospects are it's very difficult to focus on your prospecting efforts, and to do so in a way that will help you achieve your vision.
In order to grow your business successfully and meet your goals it’s vital that you understand not only your own industry, products and services but also understand your customers and, even more importantly, who your ideal customer or client is. Who do you want to be partnering with? If you don’t know who your ideal clients or prospects are it’s very difficult to focus on your prospecting efforts, and to do so in a way that will help you achieve your vision; improving your bottom line and doing more of what you want to do, with the people you want to do it with. Knowing your ideal client will also ensure that you can produce targeted marketing communications with messaging that resonates with to your ideal client.
What does your ideal client look like?
Firstly, you can think about how basic demographic information might be relevant. What is your ideal customer’s gender, age or occupation? What is their income and education level? Are they married? Do they have children? What is their job and position in the company, or are they self-employed? Is your ideal customer based in a domestic setting, and are they the main decision maker in the household?
Beyond this, you can continue to build up a sketch of your ideal client. How do they spend their time? What are their interests? What is important to them? Is price the primary concern? Are they looking for the cheapest or best value option? Are they more concerned with quality and happy to pay more for it? Are they looking to save time and avoid stress? Are they looking for expertise and guidance in an area they know little about, and a supplier they can trust? Do they want ongoing or after-sales service? With this picture of an ideal customer in mind, you can then consider how your product or service can help meet their needs.
Do you have an existing client who is close to your ideal client?
Perhaps you have a client who you always enjoy working with and you think ‘if only every client could be like this’. What is it about them that makes you want to work with them? Maybe they help to produce a steady contribution to your revenue and there are opportunities to develop and grow the work you do together. It might also be that the relationship runs smoothly, either because they understand and respect what you do, or because they trust your knowledge and expertise. These all point towards how what you offer in terms of your products and services is in tune with your client’s values and needs. Thinking about what makes an existing client attractive to work with is a great starting point for a model of your ideal client.
How many ideal clients have you planned to attract and retain?
This is likely to be part of your wider business plan, but it’s important to put these insights and your model of the ideal client into action. Armed with the knowledge of who your ideal client or customer is, how many of them do you need to attract in order to develop your business towards serving them and their needs? For instance, are you looking to forge deeper, ongoing relationships and gain repeat work for a small number of higher value clients? Do you need to expand your client base in order to deliver a high volume of ‘quick and easy’ products or services to clients who value ease and convenience? Based on your ideal client’s needs and pain points, what can you do to retain them?
Is it time to move some clients on?
Here is the other side of the coin. It can obviously be tempting to consider any lead and conversion a ‘win’ and it’s common to think of every client as indispensable when they bring work and money into your business. But are there any existing clients who fall a long way short of the ‘ideal client’ you’ve established?
It might feel like shooting yourself in the foot to end your relationship with a client, but these tough decisions can ultimately improve your business. Perhaps the time and resources they take up don’t justify the revenue they bring in. Perhaps the relationship is strained because their needs and expectations are not in line with the products and services you offer, or those you would rather be offering. Making careful decisions about whether it’s worth your while retaining these less than ‘ideal’ customers opens up greater opportunities to get back in control, attract and retain more ideal clients to grow the business in the direction you want to.
In our next article we will look at how to target your ideal client.