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The Three Mistakes Made When Defining Ideal Clients

A key element of your business and marketing strategy is defining your ideal client. 

Understanding your ideal client enables you to build a business around attracting and serving ONE person who connects with your message, products and services and is aligned with your culture, sales and support.

In my experience of mentoring numerous business owners, the common mistakes made when defining clients are:   

  • Defining a person based on high-level demographical information and neglecting the emotional drivers and challenges that they are experiencing.
  • Defining a person based on the business owners’ wants and needs, without regard to, or any conception of, the client. The business is not about you!
  •  Defining products and services before understanding who is the ideal client.

Often people will say they have defined their ideal client and then describe a very generic person experiencing a broad spectrum of challenges.

“She is in her 30s or 40s; she is married and may or may not have children; she works as a yoga teacher, social worker or beauty therapist and is feeling stuck and overwhelmed”

This is not an ideal client.

One person is not 30 or 40. 

The challenges experienced at 30 are different to 40.  Like wise experiences of someone who has a child or children, versus no children.

Further, people with different careers and jobs invariably experience different challenges.

Feeling ‘stuck’ and ‘overwhelmed’ is a state or strategy that many people experience. It is not specific to any particular person. 

When we decide to become more specific and focus on one person, we understand their deep emotional desires and create connections that speak to the heart or core of the person’s identity, their needs and aspirations.

Speaking to the ideal client at a deep emotional level allows us to cut through the noise.  The ideal client is compelled to listen and will seek us out for advice and solutions.

To resonate with your client you need to develop a deep empathy for them. 

Ideally you would have walked in their shoes and overcome their challenges. You know them without having to pretend or perform research.  Critically, you can speak their language, know their thoughts and may even finish their sentences.

If the ideal client is someone similar to you 3 to 5 years ago, (which is common), then this involves reflecting and tapping back into the deep emotional drivers and challenges you experienced at that time and the obstacles you overcame. 

Alternatively, survey or interview people representative of your ideal client. What you are looking and listening for is the common thread or themes, common language and issues.

The objective is to create a deeper connection with people who light us up and our message resonates with on a deep level.  Only when we know our ideal client’s challenges and desires can we create a product or service that achieves their preferred outcomes.

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