We all want more clients, or if we have loads already, we’d like more clients of a certain type (e.g. higher value, more appreciative, with better networks, closer to us etc).
To sell anything requires you to have something worthwhile, to know who to sell to, to get the message to them and to ask for the sale. Here we’ll focus on WHO to sell to.
How would you describe your Ideal Client? Can you? Do you have it written down?
It’s critical to know who you’d like to reach, else your marketing efforts will cost you and time will be wasted on the wrong prospects. Your personality, word use and style will also not resonate. It is equally important to know who your clients are NOT.
Being able to clearly describe your client, is step 1 in your sales planning and critical if your goal is to increase qualified leads!
Here are some guidelines to craft your Ideal Customer Profile (i.e. a quality lead!):
You may run a worldwide online business, or you may be a physiotherapist servicing one town. Due to legal differences, you may want to concentrate on your own country. You may offer a service that only pertains to people in a certain area (e.g. rainwater systems in rural areas; or rust-proofing in coastal towns).
~2~ Maturity (Age, Stage & Process)
You may want to start with young clients who’ll grow with you, or only focus on Retirees. You may want customers who are already beyond a certain point (e.g. already graduated, or who are already marketing online) or you may want to guide those with no clue what they want next. If you sell jewellery, you may focus on dating and engaged persons, or those with a special birthday coming up. A hide-away resort may attract honeymooners.
~3~ Spending Ability
Although obvious, many Small Business Owners seem to overlook the fact that they need clients who can afford whatever it is that they are selling. More subtly, you want a customer who is willing to spend on what you are offering. i.e. they see the value and they are willing to invest.
A bra fitting service may interest the ladies whereas a boxing app may excite the guys. Today, many services and products are gender-blind, because the power of networking and referral is sought. It is also useful to watch over time if your brand naturally attracts more of one sex over another, which can inform subsequent marketing efforts.
~5~ Culture and Religion
If you specialise in traditional Xhosa weddings, it will be senseless to market to everyone else. Past-life regression therapy will clearly be wasted on Christians. If you want to market to the youth, you’d better have a social media strategy. If you are a vegetarian chef, you want to reach vegetarians, vegans and perhaps those who are staunch animal lovers. To get into a particularly tight old-boys club, or restrictive socio-political group, you may need to meet someone on the inside!
Sports-persons will want to know about your special sports massage technique or training program. Book worms will be attracted to your free e-book. Parents with teens will fall over themselves to attend your seminar on staying connected to your child and keeping them safe in their teen years. Fishing enthusiasts, mountain bikers, runners and water-sport enthusiasts will be interested in your unique sunblock / hat.
In a hospitality business I owned, I attracted people who responded well to a very specific set of words that pre-qualified them as appreciating my offering and made them highly likely to rate it well after their stay. This, together with under-promising and over-delivering, resulted in Tripadvisor Excellence Awards for 99.9% satisfaction ratings year after year. For a therapy practice, you may want to target unhappy or depressed persons. If you spend a lot of time with clients (e.g. on overseas guided tours) you may even want to attract people who share your own beliefs and worldview.
I hope this helps to guide you in writing out your Ideal Client Profile and to place it in a prominent spot where it will influence everything you do.
Advanced thoughts: beware of making the definition too narrow and keep in mind that they are YOUR personal perfect prospect. If you can put yourself in your prospect’s shoes and imagine him or her during an average work day, your empathy will be engaged which results in expert Buyer Personas.
This is what I wrote for Small Business Revolution’s Perfect Prospect:
Small Business Owner or Entrepreneur in South Africa who has already committed to a business and who is ambitious, ready for growth and open to learning (i.e. willing to ask for – and pay for – professional help that brings results). Must be digitally connected not only because we often work remotely, but because small business solutions will undoubtedly require at least part of our Digital Marketing Engine*. We enjoy working with positive, ethical, educated and hard-working persons usually between 25 and 60 who read business and self-improvement books and (to be really cheeky!), appreciate nature and family.
If YOU fit this description, you are our model prospect! We can certainly help you flourish and we invite you to receive our free, monthly educational letters.
Knowing exactly who you’d like to do business with, will help you connect with more qualified leads, quicker. Write it down now!
STAY AHEAD OF YOUR COMPETITION!
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Author: Ronel Pieterse
Ronel has spent 24 years in the corporate world (finance, banking, mining, manufacturing and agriculture) and has also started 5 small businesses herself over the past 20 years. Four of these are still operational today in one form or another. Ronel's passion is to use her considerable skills in spheres of business and IT to help other small business owners and entrepreneurs to grow their businesses to the next level and to attain sustainable competitive advantage in the process. View all posts by Ronel Pieterse