When building a business, our primary goal is to attract clients. After all, without clients we have no business. We start out with the goal of attracting as many clients as we can handle, but it doesn’t take long for a new business owner to discover something scary. That dream you have of filling your client roster can quickly turn into a nightmare.
A few bad apples, and you quickly begin to form a new dream. Now, instead of filling your business with clients, you want to fill your business with ideal clients. Suddenly, just anyone won’t do. Your heart is set on that perfect client.
Nightmare clients share common characteristics – overly demanding, whiners, complainers, slow to pay, unresponsive, lazy… You get the picture. But beyond that, there are clients with whom we just don’t click. Our personalities might not mesh, our energies might clash, or there might be some subtle differences of opinion that eventually compound to make the relationship uncomfortable. Don’t feel bad about this. It happens. We’re all human, and we’re not going to always get along.
On the other hand, there are the dream clients. Hopefully you’ve had one or two. If not, you’ve heard about this elusive creature – the perfect client. She’s communicative, responsive, and has no trouble paying. Working with her is not like working at all. You bask in each other’s light, play off of each other’s creativity, and working together brings out the best in you.
Well, of course I can’t promise the perfect client every time. But I’ve been fortunate enough to work with clients I adore. Here are some tips for gaining the perfect client:
Create an Ideal Client Avatar
I hope you know by now that you need to have a very specific target market. Your target should go beyond demographics to designate specific characteristics of an ideal client. When you create an ideal client avatar, you go to the extreme. Describe the person you ideally want to work with down to the minutest detail. Some suggest cutting a picture out of a magazine and naming her. Hey, whatever works. It’s important for you to have a clear idea of what a perfect client is to you before you can go out and attract one.
Create Targeted Marketing Content
All of your marketing should speak directly to this ideal client. It doesn't mean you’re excluding everyone that doesn’t fit the exact mold. It just gives you a guide. Instead of writing a sales letter to entrepreneurs, you’re writing a sales letter to Vicky, who has all of the characteristics you’ve outlined, and you’re attempting to meet her needs with that sales letter… or blog post… or direct mail piece. People who don’t share Vicky’s characteristics are less likely to be drawn in by what you have to say. By doing this, you will attract lots of Vickys.
Leverage Success Stories
Nothing will gain Vicky’s attention more intensely than seeing that you’ve already worked with other Vickys. Unless you’re just starting out and don’t have a choice, don’t use testimonials from less than ideal clients. You want Vicky to recognize herself and the potential outcome of working with you when she’s reading testimonials. This goes for sales conversations as well.
You might think it’s best to make it as easy as possible for a client to be able to hire you. Not true. There should be an intake process in place that allows a bad prospect to filter herself out, and then allows you to filter out the remaining less than ideal clients. This can be done by way of an application, an intake form, or an initial consultation.
Know You’re Worth It
This is important. One of the main reasons entrepreneurs continue to work with crappy clients is because they think they can’t do any better. Stop grasping desperately to any business you can get. As long as you continue to let bad clients run your life, you’ll never have the time or energy to attract perfect clients. As long as you settle for good enough, you’ll never be able to enjoy ideal.
It’s not always going to be sunshine and roses. However, if you keep these tips in mind, you’ll be well on your way to gaining that perfect client.
Tell me what you have used in the past to gain those perfect clients. I would love to hear your feedback. XO