Identifying Your Ideal Client

If your marketing is not delivering your ideal client, you’re not in control of your marketing. It’s in control of you. If we had one piece of marketing advice for exit planning professionals, it’s to spend most of their time focused on the people they want to do business with instead of the marketing tactics they’ll use to connect with them.

Identifying the right client profile is 90% of what makes a marketing program work. So, getting this one step right. Knowing who you want as a client will enable you to build a marketing machine capable of consuming opportunities at a rate your competitors cannot.

To start, ask yourself some simple questions like:

  • What kind of people will buy from me and why?
  • Are they financially capable of buying from me?
  • Which clients among this group will be easier for me to approach and sell?
  • I can develop ongoing relationships with which clients from this group?
  • Which clients will deliver the most revenue in the lifespan of my relationship with them?

From there, you need to go deeper. There are eight elements of a compelling ideal client profile —

  1. Personal / business background
  2. Goals and problems
  3. Solutions
  4. Cost
  5. Outcomes
  6. Social proof
  7. Watering holes
  8. Shopping preferences

In this post, I’ll provide insight into three of these eight as described by our friend and marketing strategist, Brooke Norman:

1 – Understand their personal / business background

Bring strength to your marketing efforts by deciding who you want to work with. You have the gifts to help businesses and the right to determine who you want to share those gifts with.

Think about the personality of your ideal client and write down even the most minute details.

  • Know their gender, their age, and whether they see themselves in a position of superiority or inferiority in their personal life.
  • How many people do they support with their income and with their business?
  • Identify social and political issues. Who did they vote for in 2020? Are they a Republican or Democrat? That’s a huge part of understanding how they view the world today.

Then ask yourself, who in my life meets that description — a client, a person, a celebrity (anyone)?

2 – Understand their number one goal and the problems they face in achieving it

To be clear, your ideal client’s goal is not tied to your product or service; it’s just their goal. Something they are willing to achieve, maybe it’s to make more money? Save more? A plan is not something they need; it is something they want.

Think about how long they’ve had their goal and what has stopped them from accomplishing it. If it is a new goal, it may be born from explosive ideas, creativity, and opportunity. In comparison, a goal they’ve had for a long-time is rooted in pain and guilt.

From there, put yourself in your client’s shoes, and work to develop a deep understanding of their problems. You have to make a logical case for how they have more to lose by not working with you than making the investment to hire you.

So, in your marketing, if you’ve been skipping this part where you try to recognize what the client’s problem is, you probably ran into the issue that you didn’t have the right words to explain why they should be working with you because you couldn’t understand their problem.

So, focus on a problem your clients are facing today. Make it your problem to find a solution to your prospective clients’ problems. If your problem is not the solution, that’s the reason you’re struggling to close sales.

Find out what’s been holding them back from solving this problem without your help. The client you’re targeting is successful and intelligent – why hasn’t this problem been solved already? This is the key to demonstrating to prospective clients that you have understood them and an excellent opportunity to build their trust – long before you ever talk to them.

Identify what parts of the current problem of your prospective client are related to their goal. By providing a solution to the problem at hand, you are taking the first step towards helping them achieve their goal.

3 – Develop Solutions to their Problems

Rather than offering your product and convincing prospective clients to buy it, you need to tailor your solutions around their goals and problems. If your product isn’t a solution to your client’s issues, that is the reason you’re struggling to close sales.

To be clear, the goal and the problem are not the same. The problem is a block in the path to achieving that goal. Your solution needs to be designed to solve the problem while leading the client down a way to achieve their long-term goal.

Related: Proclamation: we will understand our clients. 

Closing Thoughts

Developing a clear understanding of your ideal client is the first step towards building a marketing machine that can consume opportunity day and night. To gain more insight on the other five aspects of your ideal client profile, reach out to Brooke on LinkedIn.

Author Summary:
Dan Doran

Dan Doran

Is the Founder of Value Scout, Quantive and the 2019 Exit Planner of the Year. He is a recognized expert and speaks frequently about M&A, valuations, and developing more deliberate value creation strategies.

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