Finding clients is a top concern for small business owners according to a recent study titled State of the Small Business Report. The study found that almost half of companies with 11 to 100 employees cited growing revenue as their biggest business challenge.
But unlike small companies with 11-100 employees, independent consultants and coaches know that revenue growth is just one piece of the puzzle. Our ultimate goal is to find customers with whom we can build a relationship. Keynote speaker Patricia Fripp puts it best when she says: “You don’t close a sale, you open a relationship if you want to build a long-term successful enterprise.”
If you need help identifying your ideal client, we invite you to watch our free video at https://rainwerks.com/packaged-to-prosper-opt-in.
So how can you find these ideal clients with whom you can build a relationship? Here is a 7-step plan to get you well on your way to finding the types of clients who will help you build your consulting or coaching practice.
7 Steps to find your most profitable dream client
Step 1: Define the problem for which you are the ideal solution. When you think about what you do best, you can probably characterize it as helping a person or organization solve a problem or overcome a challenge. For example, Diana Thomas is an executive coach who helps executives to engage Millennials (who can operate differently than older team members) and build strong cohesive teams.
Step 2: Define who has that problem. If you’re just starting out, do market research to discover potential clients. Within your existing client base if you’re well-established, you can apply Pareto’s 80-20 Rule to segment your clientele. Named after Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, who, in 1906, found that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population, the 80/20 distribution rule was born. You can apply this same rule to your client database as well by determining if 80% of your sales are derived from 20% of your customers. If so, it’s likely these 20% are your ideal clients. Now, it’s time to go deeper and identify patterns with these 20%.
Step 3: Look for similarities or patterns in the data. Consultants and coaches may hesitate to take a deep dive into their customer database unsure whether they have enough data to work with. The truth is that by simply taking a look at which customers spent the most recently, how often they spend and the purchase amounts, you can gain valuable insights into how to attract more of these same kinds of people. Similar patterns in geography, service-types, demographics, etc. are clues you are on the right track.
Step 4: Create a buyer persona. Once you see your ideal client as an individual, create offers that will be more attractive to that buyer as a person rather than a target group. What do they read online, where do they shop, whom do they turn to for advice? What do they wear? If you don’t have customers yet, then talk to others about your products and services. Now that you know more about them, it’s time for a little self-inventory to attract those clients who will like working with you and vice versa.
Step 5: Determine your working style. Ask yourself how you work best, and why you enjoy working with some people and look forward to the contract ending with others. Do you like to leave project details open-ended, or do you need everything spelled out? Do you need immediate feedback, or is it okay of they get back to you in a couple of days?
Step 6: Meet your ideal customer where they are. Now that you have your ideal customer persona in your mind, learn where they hangout online and in the community. Look for your ideal client on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. Join groups to learn what is important to them. Don’t forget to meet them in person at local business chambers and at live networking or volunteer events.
Step 7: Make yourself available. Meeting your ideal client is a little like dating. You have to show up and be ready if they contact you. Keep regular business hours, return phone calls promptly and follow up on sales leads.
In today’s fast-paced world, consultants and freelancers can prosper by learning how to market to people as individuals. Tell us what you think. Please let us know how you find your ideal clients. If you would like to learn more about identifying and finding your ideal client, watch our free video at https://rainwerks.com/packaged-to-prosper-opt-in.