There’s nothing worse than checking your calendar and seeing “that” client on your schedule. You know the one…you can’t stand working with them, you wished they would forget their appointment and not show up and when they do come in you try to quickly get them back out the door and on their way.
You don’t have to go through that ever again!
I always tell my clients that working with their dream client seems like no work at all. Ideal clients aren’t that hard to find. You just have to know what you’re looking for.
If you could work with any client in the world, who would it be?
The first step in finding your ideal client is to determine who you want to work with and who you never want to work with again. I bet you’ll find that the clients you want to work with have a lot more in common than you think.
Ideal clients usually all have closely similar demographics, things like; age, gender, occupation, income, marital status, kids/no kids, hobbies etc.
If you were to create your ideal client what would their demographics be? Be as detailed as possible. Create a life-like person(s) and don’t leave out any details.
Knowing your ideal client’s demographics will help you market to them in a better way.
If your ideal client is someone that doesn’t focus on price or getting the best bargain but would rather look for quality over cost then you won’t post advertisements on places that promote “great deals”, ‘bargains” or things for cheap. (Places I think of when I think of cheap or questionable quality leads: Craigslist or the bulletin board at the laundromat.) Don’t get me wrong those places can be very effective if your ideal client hangs out there.
It’s in our nature to say “yes” to anyone in need.
We’ve been conditioned to think that every person that comes in our business needs our help. We feel like we can’t let them go, after all, we have bills to pay, we need their business, right? Wrong! This way of thinking is what gets most businesses in trouble in the first place. When you try to help everyone who needs services just like the ones you’re providing you end up helping those you love to work with and many times those you highly dislike working with (hate is such a strong word).
Let me give you an example:
I know a lot of grooming friends who seem to be so stressed out all the time. When I ask them what stresses them out the most they tell me stories upon stories of all their crazy clients. Clients that only book last minute appointments and get frustrated that they have to wait a couple weeks to be squeezed in, clients that don’t make regular appointments for their dogs and only get their dogs groomed once or twice a year, clients that never tip and always complain about the cost of the groom, clients that make an appointment and never show up or call to cancel, clients that are always late and throw off their entire day and clients that have unruly naughty vicious little furry sharks. I always ask them who is their favorite client and why haven’t they fired their frustrating clients? The answer is always the same, “I need to pay my bills, I don’t have the luxury of saying no, besides that dog needs me, no one else will be able to groom him.” My response is also always the same “you don’t need the headache that client brings you, you deserve to be happy and have a day filled with dream clients. You need to fire them and only take on people that are your ideal clients!”
I know what you’re thinking it just isn’t that easy. Yes, it is!
When you start to narrow down who your ideal client is you can start to ask very specific questions to potential clients before you even take them on. Without finding out a little bit about the potential client first you always take a gamble on whether they will be a good fit for you or not. Just because someone is looking for your services does not mean they need you specifically.
When you focus more on working with your ideal client many good things happen like:
1. You are more happy on a daily basis
2. Your clients get the best work out of you (working with bad clients brings down your efforts and increases your frustrations)
3. You don’t have as much stress in your life
4.Your ideal clients spread the word about how good you are (bad clients rarely tell others about you)
5. You’ll have less self-doubt and ideal clients help validate your value
6. You can make more money with fewer clients (That’s a whole other blog, check it out here)
When you don’t get picky about who you work with this will happen:
1.You’ll stress out about upcoming appointments with the bad client
2. You’ll end up spending more money or time with bad clients trying to please them or get them on the same page as you
3. You’ll never be able to depend on bad clients
When it came to my dog training business I used to think I had to work with everyone and anyone who had a dog. If they had a dog and needed training they were my ideal client. After many years of frustration and almost burn out, I knew something had to change. I asked myself who I loved working with and who I didn’t want to ever work with again… My ideal client became new dog owners, they never had a dog before in their life, they purchased or adopted dogs under 6 months old. The owners themselves were the outdoorsy kind, they had good paying jobs in a professional occupation, they liked to travel and had at least one child. I started screening clients that came in or called by asking key questions that got me the answers I was looking for. I never asked directly about occupation or income or family dynamics but I asked things like how long the dog was home alone throughout the day or who helped with training the dog other than them, I asked about how much exercise the dog received like walking or hiking. Typically through the series of questions I asked I could determine if they were possibly a good fit my classes or private sessions. I always conducted an in person consultation to further confirm my suspicions. If I found either through the phone call or in-person consult that I was not going to like working with them I would tell them that the program wasn’t the right fit for them due to xyz concerns and I always had someone else to refer them to that worked specifically with that kind of dog, client or situation.
Here’s what you need to do in order to work with your ideal client every time!
1. Make sure you know exactly what you offer and what your business mission is (You’ll be less likely to waver on changing policy to help a bad client)
2. Determine who your ideal client is (who do you want to work with all the time)
3. Figure out where your ideal client hangs out or shops or what their hobbies are (You can target your ideal client better through marketing when you know more about them)
4. Come up with a series of questions you’ll ask potential clients when they call or come in. Start asking the right questions when a potential client comes in (You’ll know they aren’t the right fit when they can’t answer your questions to your liking)
5. Screen potential clients through phone or in-person consultations
6. Be ready to say “No” if they don’t meet your criteria and have a secondary resource to send them to, this is why it’s good to know your competition.
7. You will never look back when you change your mindset about your ideal clients. You’re helping yourself and your business as well as your ideal clients and even your bad clients if you don’t take everyone on. Because you will be more happy working with your ideal client your clients will get more value from you, you’ll be less stressed and more attentive. The bad clients won’t benefit as much as they should because you won’t want to give them your all (after all you tend to save that for your favorite people; your ideal clients).
Who is your ideal client, tell me more in the comments?
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