Sure your gut reaction might be, “I know them really well, thanks for asking and now mind your own business.” I know, I’ve been there! I used to think I knew my ideal client really well, until I tried selling packaged programs online. I wont say that I failed miserably, but I fell short of my goal (big time) and I had to rely on my one on one marketing to fill those initial programs. So what went wrong and how can you learn from my mistake?
It goes like this, even if you think you know your ideal client, if you are struggling to find them, or if they don‘t respond to your marketing, you don’t really know them at all.
The proverbial proof is truly in the pudding. This is why I advocate that all my clients become “Cultural Anthropologists”. To approach learning about their ideal clients in the way an anthropologist approaches learning about a new culture. In fact, if you look at some of the biggest and most successful companies out there, you will see that they are constantly studying their ideal clients. In fact, even when they do, they sometimes have a misstep. Look at Coke-a-Cola. In the 80’s they launched “New Coke” that was a huge failure in the market, even after spending millions studying the market place.
That is to say, you might have some setbacks even if you do your best to study your ideal clients, but you will have more wins than not if you do!
Ultimately, knowing your ideal client, and constantly studying them will help you create:
- Marketing that converts
- Product or services your ideal clients actually want to buy
- The perfect price point that will get sales
So take a moment and get to know your ideal client, you wont regret it!
When I was introduced to the concept of internet marketing I thought I died and went to heaven. It seemed like the answer to all my prayers. From the comfort of my own home I could get a steady stream of clients buying my stuff without me having to TALK to anyone! Woohoo!
I thought I had made it and figured it all out. Boy was I wrong!
What the internet marketers, copy writers and social media marketers don’t tell you is that you need a few key pieces to be in alignment and worked out BEFORE you can sell on the internet. So I ask you, to please learn from my mistakes by checking out what you need in place before you start focusing on internet marketing.
- You don’t actually know who your ideal clients are. It isn’t enough to “think you know” or that you “sort of know”. You need to REALLY know who your ideal clients are and make sure it is super targeted. I often tell my clients, if you can’t find anyone to talk to for market research purposes then you wont find them to sell to. Use it as a litmus test for you business.
- You don’t actually know what you will SELL to your ideal clients (aka don’t know what they will buy). Sad but true, this often gets overlooked. Again this is an area where we THINK we know, but we really don’t know. I know women often don’t like to test things, but this is an area where TESTING is essential. I can’t tell you how many “brilliant” ideas I had that never made it past the testing phase! If you know who your ideal clients are and you think you know what they will buy – test it by putting it out there to a small group and see if they buy, if they don’t – DO NOT move forward with other internet marketing strategies.
- You believe that setting up a website and doing a little bit of social media promotion, SEO or ads will be enough to drive traffic. Not true. There is a ton of work that goes into a launch and in my experience (and in my colleagues experience), it requires a ton of back end work to drive traffic to your site. And yes, it often includes talking to people!
Now, I don’t want to deter you from building out your online presence, but I do want to caution you from only focusing on that, especially if you need income right away. Creating an online presence requires a ton of offline marketing and it all starts by getting out there and meeting face to face or via phone with your ideal clients.
Let me know what you will do differently in your business, to avoid the internet marketing blues.
Now, I want to preface this by saying, I am a huge proponent of not judging a book by its cover. It was ingrained in me since I was a child, reinforced during my time at Nordstrom and solidified during my career in the Silicon Valley (a place where you can go to a “fancy” restaurant in jeans and a t-shirt without getting a second glance). Seeing people dressed down is not an issue; however this time I couldn’t help but wonder, “is he really able to teach me anything about abundance and wealth consciousness?”
The way he dressed wasn’t the only mismatch for me (or the audience). After talking a bit about mindset and how your beliefs control your abundance, he began talking about another aspect of his business. This part of his business was more of a financial planning piece – yet what he was talking about was how to scrimp and save – and get “great deals” on various everyday products. If you have read ANY kind of wealth consciousness book, you know that coming from a “lack” mentality is a big red flag. It is one of those things that keeps you down and less than abundant. Let me be clear here, I’m not against saving money or being wise with your investments, however let’s go back to the root of this post – which is the speaker was a total contradiction.
That contradiction kept the whole audience from engaging with him, I saw many people checking their phones, whispering to each other, doodling, etc. At the end, he made a pitch for his services and no one made any effort to get up and go to the back of the room to sign up.
So what went wrong and how can you learn from this?
- Be sure that you are congruent with your brand in every way. I often have clients capture the top 3-5 words that describe how they want to be seen in the world and use those to guide decisions from marketing materials to the types of products/services they put together.
- Ensure your message is clear and not contradictory. You can do this by taking a moment to write down your core message. This is what you stand for in your business. Once you’ve captured this, be sure to refer back to it when you do things like: craft your elevator pitch, website copy, speeches, etc.
- Get a second opinion. Ask a coach or friend to see if you and your marketing materials are congruent with your brand and core message. This requires you to set aside the fear of hearing something you don’t want to and trade it for the benefit of having a successful business.
Once you complete all three of these, you will be 100% congruent and in no danger of confusing people or pushing them away in your business.
I’m curious, have you ever been mismatched with your brand or core message? If so, how did you course correct? Leave me a comment below to let me know!
When I started my business, helping women transition “Outside the Cubicle”, I was coached to work with women who were “just like me”. I was told, that I was my own “ideal client”. In fact I had various coaches (yes I explored a few until I found the right fit) that told me that even the values that they had should overlap with mine. I was also told that this would make it easier for me to market to my audience. Let me be the first to declare that this is a load of CRAP!
Yeah that’s right I said it! It’s CRAP!!
Why is it crap you might be asking? Or you may even be thinking “Silvia, you are the one that is full of crap!” Let me take a moment and explain why I know this is the wrong approach and how you can take this useful tidbit of information and watch your business thrive!
Crap assumption #1: You are your ideal client – chances are your ideal client doesn’t want to study your topic to the level that you are studying it. For example, I have a client named Betty, who does spiritual development work. Now, Betty LOVES all things spiritual. She is constantly trying on new methods of spiritual practice, testing out new theories, etc. Her ideal client is someone who has “hit a wall” and is seeking guidance to move forward. Does this ideal client really want to learn all the theory and latest and greatest around spiritual development or do they just want help getting past the wall? Therefore Betty and her ideal client aren’t quite the same are they?
Crap assumption #2: Your values need to overlap with your ideal client’s values – here’s the truth, no one else out there will have the exact same values as you. Even if by some miracle your values are the exact same, chances are how you DEFINE your values will be different. Now let’s take another example, that of my client Nancy. She works with startups, helping them build out their leadership and succession planning. Do you think Nancy’s values are going to be the same as the values of this new startup? Probably not. So, if she were to market to them, using her values will it resonate with the leaders of the startups? NO!
What this means for you:
- You can release the need to create an ideal client profile that is EXACTLY like you (believe me my ideal clients have kids in college and on average are 53).
- Once you create a more accurate ideal client profile, THEN create a list of what they value. This will help you to better market to them .
On a final note, I’m not advocating you work with anyone who has values that are in direct conflict with your own – as my husband would say, doing that would be “No Bueno”. That said, remember, clients that come your way that have complementing but not overlapping values are great to have in your business.
Please leave a comment below, on any insights you’ve gained from this post, or comment on how you’ve dealt with values in your business.
I need your help! This December I’m embarking on 31 Days of Giving where I reveal tips, tricks, secrets and in general to your business building questions and challenges. You see, I woke up inspired today to give back, and couldn’t think of a better time to do it than during the month of giving.
Check out my video below where you get to learn a little bit about me and a little bit more about why I’m doing what I’m doing.
Got a question you’d like answered? Just leave a comment below and I’ll do my best to address it during the 31 Days of Giving. In addition, I invite you to check back starting December 1st as I will be giving you the opportunity to get 1:1 coaching with me FOR FREE!!! Yup that’s right as part of the 31 Days of Giving, I’ll be opening up my calendar to you as well!
One of the things that keeps us from moving forward in our businesses is our inability to get clients. You may be thinking, of course that is the key to building out a successful business, but it doesn’t answer the questions as to how you go about getting them.
The truth is, getting clients is super easy, when you are 100% aligned behind what you offer and understand your audience enough to know where they hang out and how to get their attention. Makes sense right? Well then why is it that you are still struggling or worried about the how? It most likely lies in one of the key areas I just mentioned. Did you miss them?? Well let me break it down and review them 1 by 1.
- 100% Aligned with Your Offer: If you don’t believe that what you are providing is worth at a minimum what your charging, chances are you are dragging your feet and not promoting with gusto. You might be pretending to promote, but if you look closely, you are probably just doing busy work or distracting from the real conversations/marketing and then complaining about their not being any customers who are willing to buy. There are a few things to do in order to rectify this situation, but start with listing out your fears – what are you truly afraid of? Success? Failure? What specifically is holding you back? Get the answer to this and work through it, promoting and marketing become super easy.
- Understanding Your Audience: Understanding how your audience thinks, what they feel they need and truly SPEAKING their language is the holy grail of business. When you can talk to them in a way that resonates, they are more likely to buy from you even if you aren’t doing too much talking/marketing. How do you know if you are speaking to your audience in a way that resonates? Go find where they hang out and talk to them live. If you see lots of nodding heads and requests to know more – you are on the right path! If not, I suggest you ask to interview them for market research purposes and get in their own words, their frustrations and ambitions as they relate to what you do/provide. Once you have this information use their words to talk about your products or services and see what happens.
- Knowing Where Your Audience “Hangs Out”: Finding your audience is truly easy once you know who they are and you begin talking to them. So if you are still struggling in finding them, then it is because you have not clearly defined who they are. And if you haven’t defined who they are clearly enough – then you probably are struggling with point number 2 as well. If this is the case, then go back and redefine who your ideal client is. I often recommend writing out a bio of the ideal client known as the ideal client avatar. Once you have clearly articulated who that person is, then find an 80% match to the bio you have created. Interview them as I suggested in point number 2 and you’ll be well on your way!
Take time to assess where you are struggling based on the 3 points above. Then take a moment to create your very own plan of action to help you move forward. Going through this exercise will help you determine the quickest wins towards growing your business.
Leave a comment below regarding which area you are most struggling in!
These are just some of questions I get from my clients around finding and converting clients in their business. And the answer I always give them is just another question, “Where do they hang out?” Often they tell me, “I don’t know where they hang out”. And if that’s your answer then you have much bigger problems.
As business owners we MUST understand the inner working of the minds of our potential clients. We need to know who they are, how they think, what they need and where they gather. In fact, if you’ve been following along on this blog for at least a couple of months, you know I have given you the very system to discovering the answers to these questions.
If you are waiting for someone else to give you the answer, then I am afraid you might not do well in your business. I know, that’s a pretty bold statement, but it is the truth. I know that this is an area I struggled with for a while. I sat at home thinking about where my clients were hanging out, but not making any progress. Why do you think I didn’t make any progress?? Yup, that’s right, because I didn’t go out and talk to ANYONE.
You may be thinking I was a little silly and that you aren’t in that same position. No, you are going out networking and meeting people. And perhaps at those events a friend of a friend of a friend to someone that is at that particular networking event might be the right client for you, so you keep going. And hey, isn’t that how networking is supposed to work? No it’s not! My view on this is that you are just creating busy work for yourself and actually AVOIDING talking to your potential clients. Think about it, if you are going somewhere, where your ideal clients are not, it’s like going to a quilting circle hoping someone there will know someone who knows an amazing single guy for you to marry. It’s possible, but not likely.
Often, finding your ideal client has more to do with getting more specific about who they are. If you think that’s your problem, check out the post on defining ideal clients here: http://outsidethecubicle.com/my-ideal-what/ In the end, the person to define where your ideal clients are, is you. I know, it’s probably not the answer you wanted, but unless you want to pay someone else big bucks to figure this out for you, it will really need to be you!
Oh, and as a quick tip, you can also ask friends, family and colleagues where they think your ideal clients “hang out” and if they can’t tell you either, you may need to redefine your ideal client.
When working with my private 1:1 or mastermind clients we inevitably start by defining who their ideal clients are and how they think. Many of you have probably heard this and feel like there is nothing here for you to learn and so you may choose to stop reading. You then think to yourself, “How can I get more clients?” “How can I make more money in my business?” The joke is on you, because if these are the questions you are still asking yourself, then chances are you have no idea how your clients really think.
In fact, there is a reason why 1 of the 3 fundamentals to a 6-figure business is defining “Who”. When I studied successful businesses and entrepreneurs they ALL knew their ideal clients AND how they think. In fact, the most successful businesses always approached their clients as if they were studying a new civilization, asking questions, listening and striving to understand their way of viewing the world. Learning why they did the things they did and doing their best to capture the exact words and phrasing they used.
You see the more you understand your ideal client and how they THINK, the more you will understand how to improve your services. It will also make creating new products that your ideal clients will pay for easier to do. You will know how to market to them so that you will be heard above the crowd. And with this advantage, you will have clients lined up. This is truly one of the biggest keys to a profitable business.
But here’s the rub, you can’t rest on your laurels. Just when you think you’ve got your ideal clients figured out, study them some more. See what they are thinking about next, and what’s changing in their lives. We aren’t static creatures and therefore don’t treat your clients that way. So how will you study your ideal clients and how they think?
Leave a comment below and share your best practices for learning about your ideal client!
Yes, you read it right – Preparing for the Zombie Apocalypse! What does preparing for the Zombie Apocalypse have anything to do with business? Aside from it being a good business practice to know how you would handle such an emergency, it speaks to the topic of understanding your market. I know, seems weird right? Well let me explain.
The CDC published an article on May 16, 2011 discussing how to prepare for the Zombie Apocalypse. It was a brilliant article that showed me the CDC truly understands (at least in this instance) what their “clients” want and need. This is absolutely essential when you are wanting to create solid marketing strategies for you and your business. You see the CDC knows that we, their clients, NEED: information on emergency preparedness, but that is not what we WANT. Let me repeat that sentence again to make sure you got that into the muscle … the CDC knows that we NEED information on emergency preparedness, however they also know that what we WANT is entertainment.
In your business you may know what your clients NEED, but it might not be what they WANT. So if you try marketing to what they NEED and it is not in alignment with what they WANT, then guess what – you will have no clients! It is as simple as that. If you are struggling in your business this is an absolute distinction you need to make for yourself and your marketing materials. Understand the difference and find a way to provide both in your products and services. I mean if the CDC can provide emergency preparedness information in such an entertaining way, you surely can strike the balance of fulfilling a NEED and a WANT for your clients!
When working with new clients, I find that one of the areas where they tend to hem and haw is in defining their ideal client. They fear getting specific because they equate getting specific with excluding potential customers and therefore cutting off revenue streams. However, the biggest business secret is that the more you narrow the more revenue you make. You might be asking, “Silvia, how do you make more money by narrowing who you work with?” Well, let’s take a look at that.
Statistics show that we are receiving anywhere from 245 – 3000 marketing messages a day, with a study from Texas M&A finding we receive 850 messages a day! What does that mean to you? As a consumer, I’m sure you already noticed if a marketing message isn’t directed to your specific needs at the time you are aware of your needs, you will ignore it! So, logic dictates, that your ideal clients will only hear your message if you are talking to them and their specific needs. The only way to do this is to get really specific and to understand every little nuance about your ideal client.
In fact, I encourage my clients to create an Ideal Client Avatar – which is just a fancy way of saying – I have them make up a client, complete with back story. This Ideal Client Avatar then helps to inform where they find these clients, what marketing strategies make sense and even help them define their product funnel. It may seem simple, but this is what it takes to help you and your business stand out against the crowd. Take a moment and create your Ideal Client Avatar and see what magic happens!