One of the most common questions I get asked as a consultant is, "How do I get better at attracting my ideal clients?"
It's a great question. After all, if you're not attracting clients you adore, you're probably not making as much money as you want to.
Pause for a moment and think about who your ideal client is. If you can't write down more than 3-4 characteristics of your ideal client, you're only halfway there.
The myth of your ideal client
Myth: Your ideal client is someone who has everything in common with you (same hobbies, same politics, same beliefs) and who looks like you and acts like you.
We’ve all done the exercise. The first thing you’re taught when you first start your business is to create an ideal client avatar.
This vision of your ideal client guides everything you do, including pricing (you can’t charge that single mom as much as you can the CEO of a Fortune 500 company), pain points (mom probably isn’t worried about shareholders), and even the color of your logo.
So you spend a few hours considering things such as:
- Age group
- Family status
- Lifestyle goals
Maybe you even write up a nice little story about your ideal client. You give her a name, a couple of kids, a husband who just doesn’t get it, and a load of student loans. You know quite a bit about her, you think.
But you would be wrong, and if you stop there, you may be missing a huge piece of the puzzle—and losing out on the best clients because of it.
Here’s something rarely considered in the “ideal client” equation, and it’s arguably the most important part: personality.
If you’re snarky, sarcastic, fun-loving, and loud, then a quiet, middle-aged mom who spends her time volunteering at the church is probably not a good fit for you. Sure, she might need your help and love your products, but this match-up is a disaster for one-on-one services. Either she will be uncomfortable with your style, or you’ll be miserable trying to reign in your natural exuberance.
Better to pass mom on to someone who is a better fit for her personality-wise.
Drive Determines Success
This one can be difficult to calculate, but once you recognize it (or the lack thereof), it’s worth paying attention to. The client without the drive to succeed will—more often than not—only end up frustrating you both.
Better to end your relationship as soon as you see the signs of this than to waste your time going over the same material and exercises again and again with someone who won’t do the work.
If you look at your current and past clients, you’ll begin to see patterns. You can easily see what made some clients a joy to work with, while with others, you struggled. Consider those differences, and add them to your ideal client profile. Then compare any new potential clients to this ideal profile, and you’ll never again sign on with a less-than-perfect client.