Talking About Financial Matters That Affect You and Your Organization
Why Ideal clients are, well Ideal...
Aug 18th, 2017
There are no shortage of articles and advice on finding ideal clients. A
quick Google search of the keywords "Ideal Clients" returns 43,000,000 results
(don't believe me -
here's the link)
As an aside - 3 of the first 5 websites listed on this "Ideal Client" search are titled something like "5 Steps to...." Which makes me cringe, followed by a touch of sadness that much of our knowledge has been reduced to bait and click headlines touting how easy it is to pretty much do anything. In reality, we all know, either as a fact of life, or a suppressed belief, that rarely is anything worthwhile easy (for example - like finding ideal clients, which if easy would eliminate the need for 5 step articles on finding ideal clients).
Back to the topic at hand - the coveted "Ideal Client". This is fresh in my mind on the heels of both losing an existing and gaining a new client within a few days time. As a frame of reference - in my world losing and gaining clients is not a high volume activity. So either event tends to result in a lot of time, energy and often emotion. Thankfully, losing clients is rare (something we are proud of) and most of the time we are on the positive side of the equation (winning new clients).
Another frame of reference - an "Ideal Client" is most definitely not the
same as your "Target Market." Your "Target Market" is broad and may include a
specific region, industry, customer size etc. It's everyone that fits that
criteria. Within that pool is a much, much smaller subset of "Ideal Clients."
These are the clients in your target market that you really, really want to work
We joke a lot about trying to avoid the "breath test" - taking any potential client that comes our way, regardless of fit or "rental clients" that flee as quickly as they come. It's like a bad relationship that we sometimes get sucked into, despite knowing it didn't work before and it won't again. Call it the "client booty call" (please don't ask me to expand on this) we just can't turn down.
Fortunately, most of the time we are quite good at pursuing and winning "Ideal Clients" and I can honestly say our track record is drastically improving. So while losing and gaining a client this week might seem like a net no change position - after some reflection I'm pretty happy with the upgrade. The new client ticks off all of the boxes - which spurred writing this post. They are as excited about working with us, as we are with them. The client that left had been with us a long time (10+ years), and had been very good to work with throughout. They may even come back in the future, after sampling other options in the marketplace. However, that client, while one we did our absolute best to service and support, really didn't tick off all of those boxes - and that's ok.
So, without further rambling and paying tribute to the 5-step process (but not in the headline!) here are 5 reasons why Ideal clients are, well Ideal!
Ideal clients want the same things from you, that you want to deliver to them. It's a fit without any major twisting, bending, adjusting, modifying. These clients get excited (yes they do - I've seen it) as soon as they realize you have what they need.
Ideal clients respect what you do for their organization, and treat you and your team accordingly. When these clients call, we pick up on the first ring instead of letting them go to voice-mail. We call them back and email them after hours and on weekends. We WANT to look after them.
Ideal clients tend to want more of your products or services - so the relationships usually expands, which is awesome.
Ideal clients refer us to other ideal clients. Which is a much better way to grow your business than the client booty call referenced above.
Last but certainly not least - and probably the most important to me - Ideal clients make us love what we do, giving us the mental energy and enthusiasm to go get more ideal clients. For this reason alone as the percentage of ideal clients goes up, our business has nowhere else to go but up.
So, upon reflection, my week has been
productive with a +1 on the ideal client side (although not until after the
normal hand-wringing and reflection that comes hand in hand with the other side
of the equation, watching clients walk out the door).
reading. Have an ideal client story - please share. Have a nightmare client
story - even better. Have a booty client story - bring it on! As always would
love to hear comments, suggestions and feedback.
Questions? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.