Ideal Clients - Who are They and Where Do You Find Them?
Ideal clients are the ones who are perfect for you. They are the clients who understand your offering, are happy with your services, are willing to refer you to their friends, return for repeat appointments themselves (where appropriate), who pay their bills on time, who show up on time for their appointments, who give you 24 hours notice when they need to cancel their appointment.
We all have our own criteria to define the perfect client. What are yours? If you are not clear about this aspect of your business you will spend an extraordinary amount of time chasing the wrong people and, if you do enroll them as clients, the relationship will always struggle.
The not-ideal client will not show up for appointments, they will be late payers, they will not refer business to you. In short, they will be difficult to deal with.
In their book "Attracting Perfect Customers" Hall and Brogniez use the metaphor of a lighthouse. The lighthouse does not chase ships up and down the shore line in an attempt to serve them. It stands firm and is clear about its purpose. The ships know where the lighthouse is and come to rely on it being there.
Once you are clear about who your ideal clients are, focus everything around these clients and stand still, let them find you. Stand firm around your boundaries and your offer. As soon as you begin to try to accommodate client needs which are not aligned with your own standards and values you are on a slippery slope.
Think about it. If you call one of your own professional advisers for an appointment you expect to be given a choice of a couple of times and dates from which to choose. Is that not so? Why then, when clients call you would you be tempted to see them out of hours, change your rate or jump through any other kind of hoop they care to throw at you? Clients will not respect you more for accommodating them.
So an exercise to work on is around who would be your ideal client?
Describe their attributes and characteristics, think about their needs and also make a declaration about your own requirements. Write all of this down and review it after a couple of days, refine it if necessary. This is one of the foundation stones of building a successful practice. You may think you have done this already and maybe you have, but indulge me, do it again. Be clear about your offer, who would want to benefit from that offer, who you will work with, what you do not do and who you do not work with. If you do not have this clarity how are you going to be able to discern your ideal clients from the not-ideal?