How to find your ideal clients?

Businessmen shaking hands

Photo courtesy of reynermedia(CC Attribution)

Wouldn’t it be great if ideal clients just dropped out of the sky every time we needed them? It would be something akin to those State Farm commercials – when you get in a bind and need more cash, just say “Bring me more clients!” Poof!  Like magic, there they appear. Even though we haven’t figured out how to do exactly that, we have the next best thing.  Let’s take a look at a realistic strategy to find who exactly you should be targeting, and then, more importantly, how do we find more of them?

5 Steps to Your Ideal Client

1. Find your most profitable clients.

The first part of this should be fairly easy to do – just get into your client billing information and sort through the data until you find your top 20% of clients, based on amount billed to them. The next step can be a bit more difficult, as you to dig deeper into that top 20%.  Determine for each of those clients who was the most profitable for your business. Be careful – they may be paying a bunch of money each month, but if their profit margin is low, that would not be an ideal client to go after in the future.   After you have determined those most profitable, write down their defining factors, answering such questions as, “What type of company are they? What service or product do they produce? What service or product do you provide for them?”  Then look for what attributes those clients have in common.  This will help you identify the type of clients that buy a service or product from you that has a good profit margin.

2. From the above list, identify those clients who refer you the most.

Now let’s divide that same list again and find out who among your clients has referred you the most. You may even want to make hierarchy of your clients, listing them from greatest to least jobs. This is very important, as it is in an indicator of their level of satisfaction with you and your service.  It tells you who is happy enough to tell others that they should be doing business with you.

Ideal Client

Clients that fall into the upper right quadrant of this graph are ideal..

3. Find the common demographic elements.

Now you will have created an even more specific group, and you need to see what common characteristics they have. Here are just a few things to consider:

• Age

• Employment status

• Gender

• Occupation

• Income

• Educational level

• Industry

• Employee count

• Type of business

• Geographic scope of business

• Revenue levels

4. Understand the behavior that makes them ideal

The secret to attracting ideal clients is to understand what makes them tick.  What triggers them to go looking for someone like you?  What is it that keeps them up at night? What frustrates them so much that they are looking for the solution you provide? 

If you are  providing a solution to their most common frustrations, then this may truly be your golden opportunity.  People make a lot of their buying decisions to eitherremove pain or experience gain. If you can tap into these emotions you can truly grow your business, creating an ever-growing relationship between you and your clients.

5. Draw a full biographical sketch

Finally, once you are able to pull together a company profile that focuses on profitability, referrals, demographics, and behaviors, then you have the foundation of a biographical sketch or persona. The idea is to create a picture of that person at the company that is so vivid that just about anyone could envision a mental picture of that client. You have to be able to also answer the question you will inevitably be asked – How do we spot our ideal client?  This is key in helping your employees fully understand who they should target.  I have even see some companies create a cardboard cutout of their ideal client and include it in all planning meetings. This client model has a name, a family, assets, and almost a real life. Why? Because it make it so much easier to pitch things at a persona, than at some intangible pie in the sky company out theresomewhere.

So, what does this mean for YOU?

There is no doubt that it takes time to create this sort of profile, but it makes it easier to identify and decide who you should be going after, making this an essential process every business should go through.  If you would like some guidance through the process , or if you want to learn more strategies that you can use to generate more leads into your business, please take our free marketing assessment and we would be happy to give you some free suggestions on not only identifying your ideal client, but other suggestions to help you grow your business.

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