As a business owner, ideal clients are very important to me.
There was a time in my life where landing every deal was what I set out to do. I would get upset if I “lost” a business opportunity, even take it personally. It took a long time (and a lot of sales training) to realise that you don’t want every job, you only want the ideal ones.
My first job (a life time ago!) was as a beauty therapist, and the most important thing to me was to get clients to return, and they did. I had the fastest growing client base in the clinic’s history. I didn’t care who, I just cared that they came back.
As time went on I noticed a trend. There was a big difference in my job satisfaction and my ability to on-sell valued products when I was with the clients I genuinely cared about. I was ineffective and even doubted my abilities (let alone on sell) when I was with the “vampires” i.e. those that were such hard work that they sucked the metaphorical life out of you.
Even more notable, the clients that I favoured referred nice clients. This trend has left a big impression on me, and that was that I didn’t want everyone, I wanted the best ones.
To explain, an ideal client is a vendor who values your services and remains loyal with little question of your worth. They trust that you are making the right decisions on their behalf, thus allowing you to focus on what you do best. Trust me, ideal clients are much less stress and worth the effort to find.
If you need help with discovering who your ideal client is, “How to discover your perfect target customer” is very helpful and a great place to start. However, after you know how to quantify your ideal client and then find one, you have to get them on board too. So here they are:
5 tips to land an ideal client
- Suss them out – A lot of companies try to limit their consultation time and for good reason, time is money. For me, I’d rather put in a lot of effort at the start (whether that be multiple conversations over coffee’s or several phone calls) to figure out this person/company and their agenda. If I get it wrong and they aren’t ideal, the relationship will not work long-term, so any time you invest will be wasted anyway. In addition, the doubt created by non-ideal client is not worth putting your business through, so do your due diligence.
- Be specific – if you don’t know what you do or understand what your business goals are, how can you possibly explain your services to an ideal client? You can’t. If you change your direction or appear inconsistent at any point, you can appear unprofessional and scattery. You must know what you do, and communicate it well (work on your elevator pitch), so you are all on the same page right from the start.
- Be honest – Being tactfully open and honest about your agenda is the best way to ensure you engage an ideal client, because they are able to make a confident decision about engaging your services. How can there be any misunderstandings if they know everything from the start? My ethos is that there is no point withholding anything because it always comes out in the wash, and if that offends them or puts them off, then they are not ideal.
- Explain your value – If you can sit down and clearly say that your service will cost “x” amount, but it will generate “y” in value for them (and it actually does), and most importantly, they see the value in that, then they are ideal. If they don’t, don’t waste your time any further. If you are valuable and they can’t see it, they flat-out don’t know what they are doing.
- Care about them – I know, I know, it’s not friendship it’s business, but the fact is that with a bit of time, people know if you are disingenuous, and business is still run by people so caring does matter. If you do not care about what they are trying to achieve, you won’t care about helping them achieve. How can you remain motivated if you don’t care? How can you get your act together to do a good job if you don’t care? If you don’t care it will not be ideal.
If you want to know more about ideal clients and their importance, I highly recommend reading “The Personal MBA” by Josh Kaufman. Actually, I would recommend this to anyone in business. It is easy to read and leaves no stone untouched, so do yourself a favour and buy a copy.
Most importantly, get in touch if you have any views on ideal clients. I think they are a big deal, but maybe they aren’t…