The three ways to identify your ideal client

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Identifying your ideal client is one of the most difficult things, and yet the most important thing to do for your business. Before I start going into the how, let us spend a few minutes thinking about the why. Why does everybody bang on and on about this ideal client business!? Believe me I used to feel the same way. Then one day it clicked into place.

You may have heard many times that your (any) business exists to solve a problem for your client, right? So, think about it like this. How can you provide a solution if you don’t know or understand the problem? Sure, you can come up with a solution that you think may help someone, but it will always be hit and miss most of the time with that. By fluke it may solve somebodys’ problem, which means that you’ll be able to attract clients here and there, but it will never turn into a reliable stream of clients. Or at least a reliable stream of clients that you want to work with.

That’s why, that’s the reason why it’s so important for you to genuinely understand your identify your ideal client, and genuinely understand what they want your help with it, that is what their problems are so that you can offer a solution that solves it.

Now that we get the why let us move on to the ‘how’.

The first ‘customer templates’, I can almost her the collective groan from here. You are probably cursing me and thinking that I tricked you into downloading this, that if it is just about filling in customer templates there are millions already available on the internet.

Do not worry, I am not going to do that!

Instead, I’d like to explain to you what those templates are trying to do, after which you can create your own templates if you like.

There are 3 things:

  1. The first step is to step into the clients world as an observer, what does their world look like? Where do they live, how does they day start, are they a snoozer, or are they up before the alarm rings. Is there anybody else in the house? Are they a breakfast person, or they just rush out the door because they are already so late? How do they get to the office, do they stop for a coffee? Get creative, but please do remember that you’re also being given the honour of being in your clients world. You get to walk alongside them as they go about their day
  2. If the first step was being an observer, looking in at your ideal clients world, the second is to step into your clients shoes and look at their world through their eyes.
  3. You are very likely to find that their inner thoughts and feelings are not in sync with their outside world. The very things that outsiders may see as impressive and amazing are they very things they hate. For example Lucy 29 years old, associate solicitor. Massively talented and tapped to be the next partner when one of the older ones retires. Lives in her own place, able to afford the whole place by herself so has no flatmate, works in London, to an outsider this may be the epitome of success. But internally Lucy hates it, she feels suffocated and stifled. She hates this boring stuffy world, and feeling like she’s constantly fighting and exhausted. She wants to be free, she wants to travel, see the world, be silly, be like her friends who seem to enjoying life. For once she wants to be able to let go.
  4. The third step is identifying the conflicts between her inner world and outer. The following things especially; if she could articulate her feelings to someone what would she say? What are her pains, if she understands that she doesn’t want to do what she does any longer, then why is she there? What is keeping her there, who is she afraid of letting down? Why does she feel guilty? What frustrates her, what toll is this taking on her mental health, what will happen if she doesn’t take action now. What will her life be like if she does take action.

Once you are able to really answer the questions above, then test! Look for people in your life who are your client, or reach out online, through any of the social media channels. Most of the time you will find people who are willing to help. In fact, the faster you get volunteers. The better it is, because that means it’s a service that connects with many different people.

Method 2

When your avatar is based on a real person. For most people this is the method that really helps them find their ideal client. Now there are two ways to go about this.

First look back all the clients you’ve worked with, who are the people you believe you had the most impact on. Where did you add the most value? Who paid you well, and on time? Who did you love working with? Who did you derive the most joy from working with?

The second real person is you from the past. Before you found what helped you get the other side. You are the person you were looking for but could not find when you were in that situation. For example when I wanted out from what I was doing, I could not find anybody that could help me with what I was trying to do.     

Method 3

The third method is very much a heart based one. It’s all about find what you care about. Now I understand that can be quite difficult to think about without having a framework. So I suggest that you use the UN Sustainable Development goals as a guide for this exercise. You can find them here.

Which one those goals is dearest to you. Which one are you pulled towards? When you find the one that speaks to you, go on to the next step.

The second step of this method is ‘find the human’ what I mean by that is look for the person affected by what’s dear to you. This is probably simpler to understand through an example.

Let us say the goal that’s dearest to you is ‘Quality Education’ now, when we talk about education most of us jump to the conclusion that we’re talking about a child. However, please don’t forget that adult education is a huge market and need. Really think about one person who’s life will change for having met you, or having used your services.

If it’s adult education, perhaps the person ‘Jack’ is finding it difficult to get a job because he lacks self belief. If you are a mindset coach, voila! You have found your client. Of course you then go on to fill out all the other details about them as oultlined in step number 1.

A word of caution although this method may seem the most appealing, please, remember that you are running a business. To be sustainable you need to make money. If you find that ‘Jack’ does not have the funds to afford your services then there are two options. The first find the person around Jack who will pay you so that Jack can benefit from your services. However, if this is not feasible then you move onto the next person within this sector that you know you can make a difference to as well as pay you.

I hope you found this guide useful. Please, join me for a free five facebook challenge in which I help you get really clear on your ideal client by walking you through the first method.

Or you may want to join our monthly workshops that help you build your vision, find your ideal client, help you identify the gaps in your marketing and show you how to create a 90 marketing plan to overcome those challenges.

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