How Well Do You Really Know Your Ideal Client?

Creating the ideal client

We’ve all done the exercise. It’s the first thing you’re taught when you first start your business: Create an ideal client avatar.

This vision of your ideal client guides everything you do, including pricing (you can’t charge that single mum as much as you can the CEO of a FTSE 100 company), pain points (mum probably isn’t worried about shareholders), and even the colour of your logo.

So you spend a few hours considering things such as:

  • Age group
  • Income
  • Family status
  • Education
  • Lifestyle goals
  • Location

Maybe you even write up a nice little story about your ideal client. You give her a name, a couple of kids, a husband who just doesn’t get it, and a few thousand in credit card debt. You know quite a bit about her, you think.

But you would be wrong, and if you stop there, you may be missing a huge piece of the puzzle—and losing out on the best clients because of it.

Personality Mismatch

Here’s something that’s rarely considered in the “ideal client” equation, and it’s arguably the most important part: personality.

If you’re feisty, sarcastic, fun-loving and loud, then a quiet, middle-aged mum who spends her time volunteering at the church is probably not a good fit for you. Sure, she might need your help, and she might love your products or services, but if you’re going to work together, this match-up is a disaster. Either she will be uncomfortable with your style, or you’ll be miserable trying to reign in your natural exuberance.

Better to pass mum on to someone who is a better fit for her personality-wise.

Will they pay what you’re worth?

I had a potential client ring me because he’d found my website, admired what I’d done and was up to his eyes in admin. He sounded like the perfect client on the phone, so we met for a complimentary consultation. When he heard my prices, his face dropped a mile. Oh, he said, my last VA charged £10 an hour less than that! In that case I don’t want you doing just basic admin, I’d want something more complex for that price. I bit my tongue to stop myself saying that the price I’d quoted was for basic admin. I charge a higher rate for anything else.

We left it that he would call me before the end of the week, but if he hadn’t, I’d call him. He hasn’t called, and I haven’t called him either. I only want to work with clients who respect the value I bring to their business and are willing to pay for it. I’ve discovered that the ones who quibble over your rate are likely to be bad payers. And that’s no-one’s ideal client!

Look at their business goals

When I think about the clients I want to work with, one of the things I look at is whether they want to stay solo, or expand their business. If someone is looking to expand their business, one of the first things they need to do is outsource their admin, and that’s where I come in. Have a look at my blog on how to do this if that’s what you’re contemplating. Then contact me to explore how we can work together.

Build your ideal client profile

If you look at your current and past clients, you’ll begin to see patterns. You can easily look back and see what made some clients a joy to work with, while others were a struggle. Think about what those differences are, and add them to your ideal client profile. Then compare any new potential clients to this ideal profile, and you’ll never again sign on with a less-than-perfect client.

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