Are you my Ideal Client?
We’re all in mad stampede these days to find our ideal customers. And there’s a Mt. Everest of information and advice out there telling you the best way to do that.
But recently I went through an exercise and asked myself: Who’s my ideal client? Who do I want to work with?
It was an eye-opening experience.
Over the years, I’ve worked with a lot of very different clients on all sorts of varied projects. I decided to make a list of those clients – I love lists! Lists help me organize and prioritize.
Then I divided the list into Best & Worst.
My “Best” list was a full one. My “worst” had only three on it. Not a bad ratio!
Hmm. The important thing was to figure out what were the characteristics of the clients on each list? This took a lot more thought. I couldn’t just base it on who I liked personally at each company or organization. What sorts of things did they all have in common as entities?
Here are the Characteristics of the Best (not necessarily in this order):
- Willing to pay for value-added
- Committed to high quality
- Excellent business ethics
- Innovative, open to new ideas — seeks creative approaches backed by strategy
- Trusts in my performance
- Wants a win-win on every deal
- Values creativity and understands the process and reward
- Collaborative. Looks forward to working together for a common goal & result
- Not afraid to have fun – has a sense of humor
- Responsive – gets back in a timely manner on questions, decisions
The list could go on. But I think the more telling is my list for The Worst:
- Political ( and I don’t mean governmental) – everything is a war game
- Territorial – refuses to see beyond their own small fiefdom, guards it jealously
- No authority to make buying decisions (and hides it) – wastes your time
- Resistant to new ideas — “it won’t work” “we’ve never done that before” (and we don’t want to try)
- Does not stay educated and up to date on the marketplace or new ways of reaching an audience. Still believes the audience will come to them.
- A “follow behind” mentality – too scared to risk or lead
- Rigid; bureaucratic
- Wants the lowest price, figures they’ll get “good enough.” Refuses to believe there’s an ROI for quality
- Short-sighted; no long term view
I discovered that the lists show a lot about me and how I like to work. I realized the “Best” list describes my “professional personality.” It became clear as day when put on paper.
By figuring out who I don’t want to work with, I can concentrate on attracting the Ideal.
My ideal client is the one who will read that “Best” list and the list will resonate – we’ll speak the same language because we share characteristics. It’s one more way make it easier to find each other.
I’ll be able to tailor what I offer to those Ideal Clients.
If the Ideal list doesn’t resonate with someone making a decision on hiring me – that’s okay. We won’t waste precious time trying to fit when we don’t.
Have you ever gone through an exercise like that? If not, give it some thought. You could save yourself a lot of headaches by finding the brand, vendor or partner business exactly right for you.
What characteristics would be on your lists?