“How’s business?” I asked the website designer I was chatting to at the networking meeting.
“Not bad,” he replied “But we could do with some more clients.”
“What sort of clients are you looking for?” I enquired. “Who could I introduce you to?”
“We’d like to work with some international corporates,” he told me.
“What do you mean by that exactly?” I asked. A sensible question, I thought, but he looked at me as if I had asked him to explain quantum physics in words of one syllable, in French! He sat and thought about this for a while and couldn’t actually come up with an example of an ‘international corporate’ that he would like to work with.
This probably explains why he doesn’t have enough work – because he can’t easily describe the exact type of clients that he wants to work with. When you have a clear picture of your ideal clients, other people will find it much easier to recommend them to you. Your marketing messages will be much clearer and your ideal clients will find it much easier to identify themselves as your perfect clients.
So how do you identify your ideal clients?
There are number of ways in which you can do this. Here are my favourite three:
What business types have you worked with a lot, or would you like to work with?
What are the main problems that you can solve for your clients?
What are your values? What drives you? Where can you find people who share your values?
When you run your own business, if you try to promote your services to everyone, you will find it difficult to attract the best, ideal clients. You need to get used to turning away work and potential clients that aren’t perfect. Instead, get really clear on the types of businesses or people that you want to work with, and the issues that you want to help them with. When you can focus on a specific business or personality type, or business challenge, you will start to be seen as an expert in that field. Potential clients will seek you out and you’ll receive recommendations to ideal clients, which makes your marketing much easier and more cost effective.
If you’re still not sure how to find your ideal clients, there’s a great book that you can read, called Attracting Perfect Customers by Stacey Hall and Jan Brogniez. I’ve been using their four-stage process for over 10 years to help the owners of small businesses to do just that. It’s a really clever process, so either read the book yourself, or let me know if you’d like me to take you through the process, so that you can start attracting plenty of new clients.