The struggle to identify your ideal client ends here
The real importance of identifying the ideal client for your business is actually in taking it a step further and understanding how to connect with them so they immediately “get it” and are inspired and motivated to take action to invest in what you have to offer.
Finding your ideal client is essential to you being able to take your business from hopefully getting by to really thriving. I’ve found this to be a challenge for so many people I have worked with, no matter how long they have been in business. It’s one for the foundational steps and a must have if you are going to market effectively. Identifying your ideal client is one of the first few steps in my 12 month business growth and marketing program – Thriving Entrepreneur.
Step 1: You need to have absolute clarity on your core products or services
This is as simple as writing a list of all of your products and services. Just start with a blank page and then write product or service next to it. Some businesses are product based, some are service based or some are a mix.
For example my business is predominantly a service based business but I do have some products I sell that do not require me to deliver them so I have a mixed business but with a service focus. Be sure to understand what you’re offering before you begin to get to know your ideal client more deeply.
Step 2: The next step to identifying your ideal client is to understand the key problems your product or service addresses to the point of solving it if that’s what people are looking for
Even if you haven’t got the clarity on your ideal client this step will help you to better understand the purpose of your business – think back to why you started it – your why under pins everything and is your motivation for creating your business in the first place in most instances.
I even find this for people who have bought an existing business or fallen into the role of business owner. There is a key reason they want to be in business and it’s always liked to a bigger purpose – usually around making people’s lives better in some way.
Get clear on what your why is and the intention you had. What problem did you want to solve. It’s likely to be the same key problem your ideal client is experiencing right now!
Step 3: You need to understand the key benefits your core products or services have to offer your ideal client
It is really important that you understand what a benefit is. Many people get a little off track at this point and find it easy to list what we’d call features of their products and services. A feature is different to a benefit.
A feature is a distinguishing fact about your product or service. For example a feature of my coaching programs is that they are available in groups or privately, one on one. A benefit of this feature is that this offers you a range of different options and price points to ensure you can get the help you need that also matches the way you want to work with me.
An other example I can give you is something I worked on with a current client of mine recently. A feature of her business is that she has a team of bookkeepers and they ensure that at least 2 people are familiar with every client file. The benefit is that when a client calls and has a question they can get that question answered by someone familiar with their business and books providing a personal approach.
The next layer of this is that the ultimate benefit is that the client has increased peace of mind and confidence knowing that more than one person in the business is across their file and available when they have a question or need information. This saves them time and potentially even saves them money. To a busy business owner this is brilliant!
So to identify your benefits (the things your ideal client will connect with) write a list of all of the features on offer – the specifications of the product or service, how it’s delivered, the price point or payment options. Then for every one of your features write a benefit.
Once you’ve done this you will have a list of ultimate benefit statements – aim to have at least 10 of these for your business overall and if you like at least 5 for each product or service you offer. This becomes critical marketing material that you can modify for purpose and use over and over.
Step 4: Now is the time to get to know your ideal client in a really intimate way
Think about the clients you have at the moment – even if you are just starting out and you only have a few – this is something you can do at any time.
Think about the people you love to work with – the ones that are easy to work with, who get the value you offer, are grateful for what they are experiencing and don’t hesitate to pay you well for what they receive.
These people would quite likely have a lot of the attributes of your ideal client or customer.
Make a list of everything about them that you know. It’s important to get really detailed.
Don’t just focus on their issues or problem and how your product or service solves that.
Drill down to demographic information like how old they are, their level of education, family structure, their education, work, income, hobbies and interests.
Think about where they spend their time – do they eat out, go to the movies.
Are they married? Single? Divorced?
If they have children are their kids school age and currently their primary focus or are they older and retired and have adult children and grandchildren?
You will want to write out a profile and feel like you are describing a real person or people in a very detailed, almost intimate way – like you know them really, really well.
Accelerate Your Understanding With This Integration Action
Create your Ideal Client / Avatar collage
I love to mix up my coaching, consulting and training sessions with some creative exercises. My professional background prior to launching Creative Possibility in 2009 included a lot of art training and I am also a qualified art therapist. I love that I can use a lot of that experience in my work now.
The greatest benefit of this for my clients is that they learn things in different ways to how they have in the past and engaging the creative areas of our brain helps us to retain information in a different way. We are also, by and large, visual processors so working visually is a great way to learn and grow.
One thing I find really powerful to do with clients is to get them to create ideal client collages. I did this when I first started out in business. I followed the steps we have talked about and then I thought about how that person would look visually and the words that would describe them.
I got a big piece of paper and some old magazines and created a collage to represent that client. What was most powerful about this was when I had it stuck up in my office and so many of my clients at the time would stop and look at and connect with the collage and say things like “that looks like me” and “I say that”. I knew then I was on track and had nailed my ideal client. Here they were reaffirming that with every single comment.
I find for people who are struggling to articulate their ideal client this is a great exercise to do. When we can see what someone looks like it is easier to find the words to describe them!
Ok now it’s time to take action. Be sure to share what you learn about your ideal client by adding a comment below.
Until next time I wish you abundant effortless success,