As the head of your organization, you likely know the importance of defining your ideal client. So why do many of us avoid taking the time to get clear and write it out? Is it worth the hype?
We all want clients that are easy to work with, pay on time and make large purchases. And I’m sure you know an ideal client when you see one—but is your team on the same page?
What makes defining your ideal client successful is this: You need to get granular and complete the exercise with your team.
While it may seem tedious or unnecessary, here’s how you can benefit:
- You attract more ideal clients and thus make work more fun for the entire firm.
- You get group buy-in by receiving input from all team members.
- Your team gets to be creatively inspired and produce better solutions.
- You’re all able to more clearly communicate the traits and habits that define your ideal clients.
My First “Ideal Client Avatar”
In fact, discovering your ideal client now even has a marketing buzzword – “Ideal Client Avatar”. Darn it all, why didn’t I think of giving this concept a slick sounding name? Decades ago I sat in my office with a notepad, thinking about two very different clients. One whom I adored (and wanted more like him) and one whom I loathed (and wanted to fire). I started jotting down all the things I loved about my favorite client, and on the contrary, all the things I didn’t like about my irritating client. And voilà, I created my first Ideal Client Avatar.
It became such an important concept for us at my previous architectural firm that we decided to celebrate and honor our ideal client. Our entire team of employees visited him during one of our quarterly team outings. We played soccer together at the new sports complex we had designed for his park district. And we even awarded him with a bobble-head replica of himself with a little plaque saying “Favorite Client”. He certainly got a kick out of it and was duly complimented. From that point on, our organization was always on the lookout for more Jeff Nehila’s.
If you’re ready to create an ideal client avatar for your organization, here are four things to consider.
- It’s never too early or too late: If you’re just thinking about starting a new business, you should define your ideal client as part of your business plan. The process may be difficult since you haven’t launched your business yet, but you don’t have to rush it. Let your ideal client profile “simmer”, pick it apart, and ask trusted peers what they think before considering this activity complete. If you’ve been in business for a while, you can do this exercise more easily since you have the wisdom of working with innumerable clients.
- Brainstorm with your entire team: Start the discussion with your team by writing down every descriptor that is shout out. You can categorize the agreed upon adjectives later and even group them into a meaningful document.
- The more detail the better: The more adjectives you can use and the finer point you can put on your description, the better. As they say, if you can envision what you want more of, you will attract more of it.
- Remain realistic: Keep in mind that while you want to define your “ideal”, you want to paint a picture of a client or customer that viably exists in real life, and preferably many of them.
Aside from the type of person you want to work with, consider the type of organization you want to work with. Which of your services do you want them to retain? What’s the volume of work you’d like to do with them in a year?
Beyond Your Bottom Line
Most of us want to do more than earn a good living and have a steady job. We want to be energized to get up every morning, work with people who inspire us and deliver services that are valued. We might not get to do this every single day with every single client or customer, but we can come close. Taking the time to discover your ideal client avatar is certainly worth the hype. You get to create a vision in the minds of your entire organization which will create a pathway for your ideal client to connect with you more easily.
So, do you have an ideal client avatar? Does it need updating? Do you need more than one avatar for your different services? And most importantly, what are you waiting for?
If you would like assistance developing your Ideal Client Avatar, gather your team, and let’s have fun developing this over a 90-minute virtual (or in-person) meeting. I’ll bring a list of sure-fire questions to get your creative juices flowing. Contact Carol
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