How to Select Your Ideal Clients

How to Select Your Ideal Clients

When selecting your ideal clients, you want to be certain that this is actually a viable group for you to focus on. You would not want to spend a lot of time, money and energy focusing on a type of person who either is not looking for the type of service you provide, or cannot afford to pay you for your services.

Here is a hard truth:  Although you may be able to help just about anyone, not everyone, not even perhaps some of the people who you are accustomed to helping, will make a viable and sustainable client and customer base for your business. Your ideal clients have to meet the first four criteria below. The last two are very helpful; however, not necessary.

  1. They have specific, common issues, problems and needs that are well suited to the services and solutions you provide. This will be easier to create and understand if you are using your life experience as a key aspect of choosing your people. Also you will better understand what their specific needs and desires are because you have been there (see No. 6).

  2. They are looking for solutions. They are ready and willing to seek out and pay for a service professional to help them. Having to educate too much is a drag, and trying to convince is even worse. You want the people who are ready and who are already looking.

  3. You can reach them easily. You do not want to have a group that is so unstructured or disparate that you cannot locate them. If you say your focus is on people who are stuck or want to have greater happiness or well-being, then they are impossible to find because they are everywhere and everyone. Your job will be a lot easier if they are identifiable is a specific way and within easy reach. I find that this is a major issue for so many people in the healing arts and coaching fields because you tend to focus on intangible goals. In focusing more specifically on a certain group–who has shared issues–you will be able to find them more easily. And you will come into focus for them.

  4. They need to be able to pay for your services. If you want to help people who cannot pay, then this is your pro-Bono or volunteer work–not your business. It is very important to be clear about the difference. However, do not prejudge people too quickly because most people (in first-world countries) can and do find the money for things they really want. Really, they do. Still, working with people with greater access to resources, and less resistance, is easier for sure.

  5. They want and can use multiple programs, products and services. Ideally you will want to attract and work with people you can work with for a long time, meeting them at different places along their journey of life. This means you can bring them in one place, and you can keep offering services that benefit them over time. It is easier to bring an existing client into the next program than to enroll a new one, because they already know, like and trust you.

  6. You have a similar life experience of some kind. I think this one is most important because it helps create an instant expert status for you. When you are, or were one of them, you are able to say: "I have been where you are at and I am here now" (on the other side of the transformation), that is powerfully compelling to your ideal clients.   

 

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About Online Biz Boomer Babe

Rachel Lavern is a Certified Business Coach and founder of My Booming Online Business--a blog for middle-age, global, uptown women. She is on a mission to transform entrepreneurs' finances by teaching the action set, mindset and skill set needed to get launched + make money.

Comments

  1. Hi Rachel,

    I completely agree with you on all points.

    Sometimes we’re “taught” to approach family and friends with our business. This would be a total waste of time for me as none of my friends has the slightest interest in business and, although they know I have an Internet business, they can’t imagine why I spend my time on it.

    I also wasted a lot of time and money trying to attract “opportunity seekers” online, before it finally dawned on me that very few of these qualify as “business prospects” because they imagine that untold riches will drop into their bank accounts without them expending time or a few dollars.

    I’m much “harder” now than I used to be and if people aren’t interested in an online income and / or don’t want to spend either time or money, I just wish them well and pass on.

    This is why I like to have a “no obligation chat” with people who request information from me.

    It took me a long time to understand this. You have done your readers a great service by drawing their attention to it.

    Joy – Blogging After Dark

    • I can relate Joy, for the most part. My family has never expressed interest in my business; however, a few of my friends have done business with me. I, too, love “Attraction” marketing.

  2. These are great tips, Rachel. I’ve been blessed to attract absolutely wonderful writers as editing clients, and it shows in the final analysis. Now and then, however, a difficult writers slips through and I’m always puzzled at how it happened. I’ll take your checklist to heart and make sure we hit every one!
    Susan Mary Malone recently posted…This Is Not A Newsflash But It Is A Damn Good StoryMy Profile

    • Thank you Susan. I don’t know of an absolute foolproof way to keep those difficult clients out. I have had a handful of them myself; however, I don’t have a problem gracefully terminating the relationship if need be.

  3. Rachel – I like your advice to tailor help to those life experiences the coach is familiar with. I’m in a private Facebook group called “Getting Skinny With Courtney” and the moderator is posting about her own weight loss and encouraging others, too. In a little over 2 years, she already has > 600,000 members. A real testament to leaders being able to relate to the life situations their clients are experiencing!

    • Hi Joan,

      I have heard of successful coaches without shared experiences with their clients. In fact, I know of a male coach who only works with infertile women who is doing extremely well.

  4. Hi Rachel,

    Six good points you have made. I have to admit that sometimes I do forget to write for a “certain type of person” when I make a post or voice an opinion.

    Also, I’ve learned quite a bit about deciding if and how much of my knowledge I will give away. I don’t mind helping but there does have to be a stopping point in giving away free education.

    Great post and have a great day.

  5. Years ago I hired a coach & we were not a good fit. She expected me to move thru tasks & technical skills much faster than I was able to & wanted to finish in 3 months. We were both frustrated & did not get good results. I learned a lot about what I needed . WE have 3 personas we create jewelry for & keep in mind for blog & post topics.

  6. #4 is super important and often overlooked when prospecting for leads. The client needs to be able to pay!

  7. Great tips, Rachel. I totally agree, having a group that works with you is so important. Stucture makes a business. Thanks for sharing.

  8. All your tips are great Rachel and I particularly like the advice to use your own personal experience. I am always more attracted to asking and paying for help and advice from people who have actually gone through whatever I’m seeking answers to as they will obviously have more empathy and a better understanding of what’s involved.
    Tamuria recently posted…HOW TO TURN STICKS INTO WONDERFUL AND USEFUL OBJECTSMy Profile

    • Hi Tamuria,
      Where I find that my past experience is most valuable is in going beyond what my clients TELL me and seeing what is really going on but they aren’t saying. I have had a lot of inner struggles and havebeen doing my own inner work for years, which gives me a pretty good B.S. Meter.

  9. It’s great to be able to ascertain your target market AND your ideal market… great tips.

  10. Hi Rachel,

    You have just described my ideal client! We do have to ask them questions before we start working with them. Time and money is one thing we have to be clear on at first. We need to know they will dedicate the time needed and have the money to pay us and other things they need to build their business.

    Most of all, they have to be similar to us as you stated in #6. We need to have some kind of connection with them.

    Spot on!

    -Donna
    Donna Merrill recently posted…Getting To The Next LevelMy Profile

    • Hi Donna,

      To your point of ‘knowing they will dedicate the time’: When I first started my business I was not AS concerned about their implementation. My attitude was ‘if they want to pay me and not do the work, that is their business’. As I have matured, I will turn that person away…because I am a change agent.

  11. Yes, it can be quite difficult trying to nail down your ideal client. Being a health and fitness coach, I have to say I struggle with this constantly. Even though I know who my ideal client is, she works in many different professions and has many different interests.

  12. Some good points, Rachel. I think you really have to know who your avatar is (I’ve given mine a name). I disagree with you on number 2. I’m an educator and I love helping people understand the need for what I offer. But, all in all, very insightful.

    • Hey Carol,

      Like most bloggers (I think), I’m not looking for readers to agree or disagree with me–just sharing my own education and experiences here 😉

      I don’t believe in cookie-cutter marketing so I expect people to do what is effective for them.

  13. Hi Rachel,

    Those are some great tips, especially the number 2. If the client is not ready, then there is nothing you can do to help them. There are people who mail me without having a clear intention on what they want. When I ask them and they reply “You know more, you are supposed to help me”, I suggest to them what can help them. The outcome of this? They think that I am trying to promote to them a service when they clearly asked for help.

    So the truth is that sometimes it is not the business fault but the client is not sure of what they want. We shouldn’t blame ourselves when this happens. Heads up!

    Zaria

    • Hi Zaria,

      I would say that when people reach out to you, even though their intention is not clear, they are seeking help. That is when I would begin powerful questions to help them gain clarity. Of course, I don’t know anything about you or the situation but I’ll throw a few things out there based on your statement “They think that I am trying to promote to them”. People don’t like to be sold, but they love to buy. Perhaps a study of what motivates people to buy? Think of serving instead of selling? Selling the benefits to them rather than the features?

      Thanks for commenting and have a great weekend!

      • Rachel,

        I am a teacher first and foremost. This means that whoever reaches out for services or teaching, they should be ready for my help. I cannot help someone who doesn’t know what he / she wants. Have you ever thought that there are clients out there who are victimizing? I have seen that so many times. I hold clients and students accountable for their actions which is something not everyone likes.

        The questions you mentioned, of course I ask. How can I service someone who has no clue what they want from their lives? Teacher and student is a dynamic relationship. It means that it works both ways. A student cannot be expecting from the teacher to do everything and the other way around.

        You are right, people don’t like to be sold. Though let me give you an example. So let’s say I go to a clothing store without knowing what I want to buy. The salesman is trying to help me while I keep saying ” I am not sure if I like this or that”. Then I leave the place feeling annoyed because I didn’t buy anything although I did want to buy “something”. If I don’t specify that “something”, then they won’t be able to help me in the next store either. Does it make sense?

        Have a great weekend as well!

        Zaria

  14. Fantastic piece! I agree with everything. One of the elements I’ve added to my “decision statement” is that I easily attract women who are ready to be coached (not everyone is) and who are willing and able to invest in themselves. This decision helps me target those prospects who are ready to change and can afford to get there. And one of the things I hear from my clients speaks to your final point; many clients come to me because of my experience and my ability to help them through similar situations.

    • Love that Jackie…sends out the right vibration, doesn’t it? I ‘eventually’ ended up with that same revision after I noticed a few years ago that I was attracting lots of people wanting to work with me, but they could not afford me.

  15. I agree with you that number 6 is key in finding and building a working relationship with clients, Rachel! Because of my own health journey in my life, I can relate to others who are facing a wide variety of health issues. Even if it is just their vitality or energy levels. Of all the things I find most interesting when “attracting” ideal clients, it is how people are their own worst enemies. Often they “say” they want to change and improve their health, yet they don’t create a consistency or stick with it attitude to actually see the results. Often it is a matter of ongoing support and encouragement to have them take responsibility for themselves and ultimately their overall wellness. All of this is key to having success in the world.
    Beverley Golden recently posted…Health is Truly a Matter of Choice(s)My Profile

    • I can relate Beverley.

      People often make a conscious decision to change but they are unable to do so because their subconscious mind is running the show. Both inner and outer work is required.

  16. Hi Rachel 🙂

    Thanks so much for sharing these awesome tips for how to find your ideal client! Had a few “aha” moments and realized what I am doing wrong and will be putting together a new strategy for my coaching services 🙂 Great share!!
    Joan M Harrington recently posted…What Is The Biggest Mistake You Can Make In Your Business?My Profile

  17. Loved this Rachel.

    And I’m totally pinning it for future reference.

    It’s so true. As much as we’d like to help everyone, this doesn’t mean they’re an ideal client.
    I’ve had to start focusing in on who would be best suited for me, and vise versa.

    The truth is, you want the people who want you (and can not only afford your services, but are willing to do the work). Otherwise it’s a drag and no one benefits.

    I’ve learned this the hard way.
    Dana recently posted…Weight Loss Does NOT Have to Be A DragMy Profile

  18. I love number 4 and it is so important to remember this. I have never thought of the free ‘work’ in those terms before, thanks so much for sharing!

    Enjoy the journey!

  19. I agree with all your points, Rachel. I think point 3. is very important when you say they have to be easy to find. I think that one trips up most of us. Yes, they need to be easy to find, but newbies will ask where do you find them in the first place? The idea of certain groups with shared issues is good. However, maybe yourself or others can share some more tips.
    Joyce Hansen recently posted…What’s important in your business?My Profile

  20. Rocco Msing
    Twitter:
    :

    I always have bee struggled to find an ideal clients in my 1 year entrepreneurship . Thanks to you for sharing such huge pack of information regarding the issue.

  21. No 6 is really relevant to me today. I was referred to a potential client by someone I recently did work for. I phoned her today and we discovered a life’s challenge that we both faced. We ended up chatting for quite a while and she is interested in my services. Similar common connections have worked for me a few times.

    We learn of the importance of meeting people’s needs but I think those needs go further than the actual work they need doing.
    Sue Bride recently posted…Save Time with Desygner Image Editing AppMy Profile