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How do I find out who my ideal client is?

Did you know there’s such a thing as an unprofitable client? You’d actually be better off without them!

This comes as a surprise to many business owners.

Often, they’re clients who have been attached to the business for years and who have relentlessly requested product changes, additional support, and your undivided attention.

Only, they sit at the bottom of the pile when it comes to their contribution to your bottom line.

Then you have the clients you rank above them – those who barely murmur a word but who are happy. You get on well with them, and you work efficiently together. They see you as a trusted extension of their business. They EARN their place as ideal clients.

So, how do we find more of them?


Your ideal client questionnaire

Here’s bit of homework for you.

Ask yourself the following questions and note down your answers:

  • Who are your raving fans?
  • Who do you want to work with?
  • In which demographic do these people reside?
  • Which clients do you have who you like right now?
  • Who are profitable and don’t suck time away?

You do have fans among your customer base – every business does. But what’s their demographic? What’s their age, occupation and marriage status? Do they have kids? What are their hobbies and interests? Where do they shop? Where do they hang out? What websites do they visit?

This stuff matters more than you think. It’s why you need to walk a mile in THEIR shoes, rather than your own.

When you answer that final question above, the answers to the other questions should come a little easier. Just think about the clients you genuinely love and ask yourself why.

They probably don’t bother you much, and when they do, they’re full of praise and reasonable requests. And guess what? They’re probably all from a similar demographic with near identical requirements.


You MUST niche!

We cannot overstate this. ‘Niching down’ might be a slightly irritating phrase, but it’s the only way to build a successful brand.

Which of the following two statements sounds more primed for success?

“We sell candles to women.”

“We sell scented candles to women who are married with two kids. They work from home, regularly feel stressed, and look forward to some time alone at night, watching Netflix or having a bath.”

Immediately, that second statement paints a clear picture of the ideal client. You can see them. By comparison, the first statement is just a massive room of people, most of whom probably have zero interest in candles.

If you don’t find your niche, you’ll attract far too many of the wrong type of clients, and they’ll be unprofitable, unsatisfied, and completely devoid of any brand loyalty.


Where to start

The best way to find your ideal client is to place your current clients into three bands.

Warning: this requires ultimate honesty, and it may not be easy if you have good relations with certain clients.

Here are the three bands you’ll need to work on:

  • Band A: Great clients – you enjoy working with them.
  • Band B: OK clients – they pay on time, but there aren’t any fireworks.
  • Band C: Unprofitable clients – you do everything you can to avoid them, they constantly moan, or they take up inordinate amounts of your time. Your heart sinks when you see their name in your inbox.

You need more As and Bs, clearly. But that last point is where it can sometimes get rather tricky to differentiate a great client from an unprofitable client.

This is because clients who take up inordinate amounts of your time are sometimes the nicest. You may even count them as friends.

But are they your ideal client? If they’re constantly requesting changes and arguing for lower fees in-between chit-chat about your shared love of cricket… probably not.

It’s a pretty brutal process, but one which will lead you to a tightly defined ideal client.

If you need help with this, or any form of branding work, the Be Smart team can lend their considerable experience. Just get in touch today to find out how we can help you find out who your ideal client is, and how to speak to them with your brand.

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