Dear business leader who wants to work with ideal clients,
Let’s talk about ideal clients, shall we? When you run your own business, you get to CHOOSE who you get to work with. How empowering! On the other hand, you have the responsibility to attract and enroll people you love to work with. With so many choices, it can feel overwhelming…especially as a Christian woman in business who wants to help everyone. So in today’s letter, I’m sharing with you a few filters to create to help you narrow down your dream clients so you can work with the exact people you’re meant to serve. I also wanted to share with you some action steps for you to take so the ideal client isn’t just a dream in your head, but relationships with real people that are healthy and productive.
1. Focus on the Problem You Solve + Solution You Provide.
The most important details to know about your dreamy clients is their BIGGEST challenge and your solution when it comes to your area of expertise. Your business exists to serve your clients, and your products and services exist to solve their problems. This helps to narrow your focus so you’re not being all things to all people, but helps you to be known to helping a target group of people get specific results.
There are ideal client avatars that get really detailed about demographics, hobbies, and preferences (B-School grads, anyone?). These exercises are helpful for giving you ideas on where to meet and market to your potential clients, and to help you write copy and content that speaks to a specific type of person.
But what if someone comes to you and doesn’t look like the “ideal client avatar” you created in your head? REAL ideal clients rarely look like the avatar you had in mind, but they WILL have the challenge that you’re equipped to solve. I’ve had clients of all ages, nationalities, and seasons of life, but they were all looking to grow their service-based business. You can keep an open mind and still consider working with them on a case-by-case basis (considering they meet your non-negotiables).
2. Know Your Values so You Know Your Non-Negotiables
Your core values are the characteristics and actions that are most important to you. When you clarify and express your values, you live in integrity, attract and connect with other people who value the same thing. The best part is -- when you’re clear about what you care about, it’s easier to create a non-negotiable filter of characteristics of people who would be “heck, yes!” clients, or “hell, no!” clients.
For example, if you value hard-work and perseverance, you can filter for people who are willing to take action, get feedback, and keep going rather than people who are just looking for the shortcut to success.
Or, if you care about honesty and authenticity, you’ll value people who are open and vulnerable with the good and the bad rather than people who don’t own up to their mistakes.
When you know what you’re available for and not available for, you can incorporate these values into your content marketing to attract the right people, and repel the wrong ones.
You can even use a questionnaire for a discovery call or application with specific questions to screen prospects to make sure you would be a good fit.
3. Lead with Clear Expectations and Continue to Communicate
Think back to a time when you have a less than ideal experience with a client (or even as a client!). Chances are, there weren’t clear expectations, boundaries, or communication. As a leader, it’s your responsible to guide your client through the process, letting them know what parameters would make your work together a major success.
What are your responsibilities as the service provider? What do you need from the client, and by when? When are your office hours, and preferred modes of communication?
I have these terms laid out in a coaching agreement or contract that my clients and sign, and we go over it together during our initial session. This way, we’re both on the same page of what to expect. If challenges come up, like showing up late to a call, I can just remind them to it will just be a shortened call.
During the process, it’s important to continue to communicate, check in on what’s working and not working, and adjust if necessary. As a coach, I often ask my clients how I can better serve them to make sure I’m meeting their needs. Even though I’m working with an ideal client, I still want to make sure I’m creating a positive experience of transformation for them.
On a final note, it’s okay if your ideal clients evolve as you do. The more you work with people, the more clarity you’ll have. You can always revisit these 3 components and learn what’s working and not working so you can truly be of service to the people who need you most.
Tell me in the comments below —which component are you working on? Who are those super dreamy clients that you love to work with?