Recently I gave a talk to a room full of very successful professionals from different industries. In the audience, there were owners of marketing firms, CPAs, Financial planners, commercial realtors and attorneys.
I was asked to discuss how to be more effective when when giving presentations — so most of the content was on influence strategies and tactics.
One of the strategies that I was teaching them was client stories… why they are so effective, how to use them and most importantly how to create them.
One of the best ways to create client stories is to ask yourself… "what are all the problems that my ideal client has?" and "have I solved them for my clients in the past?"
When I asked the room if anyone of them had a profile of their avatar (ideal client)… NOT ONE OF THEM SAID YES?
I then asked them if they don’t know who their target client is how do they know where to find them… and one of the audience members said, "because they have a heart beat and some disposable income."
Now, I happen to know that she was just joking, but if you haven’t actually taken the time to map out who you would like to attract the probability of you attracting them is very slim.
Considering that most small business owners and especially professional service providers seldom do this exercise, it didn’t surprise me that nobody had done this, but we had owners of marketing companies in this group.
This is a common error that I see with coaching clients.
When I ask them who their ideal client is, a typical answer is, "anybody that is willing to pay me". It’s like throwing out a huge fishing net and whatever gets caught is good enough. That, my dear reader, is the recipe for sales inconsistency and zero predictability.
Knowing who your ideal client is not only necessary to attract the right client but it’s just as important to REPEL the wrong client.
To illustrate this point, I’m going to cite a study I read about in the economist about those Nigerian email scams. I’m sure you have received one of those emails promising you a gizillion dollars if you just give them your bank account number… ect..
If you are like me, I’m sure you’ve asked yourself, "WHO would ever fall for this stuff?" But obviously, someone somewhere does, or it wouldn’t have been in the news.
The June 30th issue of The Economist magazine reports…
In a review from Microsoft Research, author Cormac Herley explains why the scammers use such ridiculously blatant email text when targeting their victims. It’s based on the old rule that in order to attract the right person, you have to repel the wrong person.
"By sending an email that repels all but the most gullible, the scammer gets the most promising victims to self-select," Herley writes…Eric Park of the computer security firm Symantec, says that other scam emails (those offering cheap loans, for example) have recently switched from official looking communications to the more ridiculously blatant scam email format. As The Economist notes, "That suggests that these scamsters too are trying to attract idiots, rather than serious-minded borrowers."
The scammers only want to attract the most foolish, because they actually have to put a lot of work into the follow up sequence to finally get the money from their victims. If their original emails attracted plenty of still skeptical people into their follow-up sequence, they’d waste their resources (time and money) on the wrong prospects.
The same logic holds true in your business. If you aren’t actively crafting a disqualifying message in your marketing and if you are trying to satisfy all, you actually completely satisfy none. The net effect is you have less loyal, less satisfied clients.
But in order to know exactly who you don’t want, you must know exactly who you do want.
Let me give another example.
Let’s say you’re a financial planner and you have the mindset that "any client is better than none" and you have not taken the time to create your avatar.
You decide to run a space ad in a local magazine that says:
"Free financial plan…"
What could happen? You may get a bunch of calls from people that don’t have any money to manage and you waste your time and resources to figure this out.
Now, if you had taken the time to think about your ideal client and really develop this client’s avatar you could have done this.
First, you would know what magazines your avatar reads, so you probably wouldn’t be using just any local magazine, it would be one that you know your ideal client reads. Secondly, you could build in some disqualifiers in you ad, something like this:
"Are you a California dentist, with a practice with more than 7 employees and net revenue over a 1MM? Free financial plan … "
What does this ad do? Because you know your avatar, it excludes anyone that doesn’t fit that profile. In this case, more than likely, you are not going to get a call from anyone that is out of the state you are licensed. Anyone that calls will have a net revenue over 1MM and have employees of 7 or more. In addition, because you knew the avatar’s demographics you were able to select a media publication that your best clients read.
Here is a quick and easy way to find out who your ideal client is.
- Write down a list of you top 10 clients. These are the ones that you LOVED to do business with.
- Find out what they all have in common
- CALL them (or hire someone) to call and interview them to get to know them better. What they like/don’t like, what they read, what is their politic view, ask them what they like about doing business with you, what they value most in the service/product you sell. (If you really want to take this to the next level, hit reply and I’ll send information about how InfluenceOlogy can host a client appreciation dinner on your behalf and find this information out.)
If you haven’t taken the time to develop your avatar profile yet, then I am certain that you are leaving money on the table and your marketing is less effective than it could be and your relationship with your clients is not as strong as it could be. So over the next couple weeks write down those 10 dream clients and start to build a profile of your perfect match, because once you do this, you will know them when you see them and you will be able to run from the ones that aren’t a good fit.