The 7-Step Guide To Finding the Right Clients and Avoiding the Ones Who Waste Your Time The right client base is the key to growth -- and staying sane. Here's how to find customers who enrich your business and don't waste your time and energy.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
If you've ever felt like the one thing holding your business back from massive growth and expansion is your struggle to find the right clients, you're not alone.
This seems to be a topic of discussion brought up amongst many entrepreneurs and business owners online who feel like a lot of their time is wasted on bad clients. But more often than not, I find that a shocking majority of entrepreneurs are very unclear on who they are trying to attract, sell to and serve in the first place.
Chances are if you're reading this, you probably admit to fitting in that boat.
You've probably attempted one of those basic ideal client worksheets and thought you'd finally nailed it on the head. The problem? Your sales and slow growth suggest otherwise.
Instead of throwing mud at the wall to see what sticks, consider these 7 tips to truly understand and find your ideal clients.
1. Learn how to spot clients who will waste your time
Most entrepreneurs get so caught up with finding their ideal clients that they forget to ever find their non-ideal clients. Before you even begin trying to understand who you want your business to attract, define who you absolutely do not want to attract. This is critical to crafting a targeted marketing message and saving your business from attracting everyone. Remember: If you try to attract everyone, you'll attract no one.
Here are some red flags that someone is likely to be a bad client:
- A prospect who demands that you respond to their email at 7:30 pm on a Saturday. (Unless you enjoy being controlled by your clients and responding to unrealistic demands, you won't want to work with those kinds of clients.)
- A prospect who talks a big game about wanting to hire you, but then offers to pay you in forms other than money, or asks for discounts upfront. (You can imagine what kind of working relationship that would turn into.)
- A prospect who tells you they need results immediately or else their business will sink. (From my experience, these type of prospects have turned out to be the most unenjoyable clients to work with, since they view you and your offer as their lifeline. Don't agree to be someone's life savior).
Feel free to add to the list until you and your team are crystal clear on who your ideal client is not.
2. Understand your ideal client's worldview
Once you know who you, your ideal client is not, it's time to discover who it is. The first step might surprise you, as it's one that most entrepreneurs miss completely.
In order to find your ideal clients, you must first understand their worldview. Your marketing will only be successful if you understand how your ideal client sees the world on a daily basis. We all have very different perspectives, so this is critical to successful marketing.
In a phone interview with Desislava Dobreva, Brand Strategist and founder of Royalty Branding, she advised on this topic by explaining, "The first step is to find out your ideal client's worldview; not demographics, not pain points, but world view. You can't attract two people with different worldviews with the same marketing message or narrative. As an example, we can take a severely overweight person and a person who wants to lose 20 pounds... Both could wrongly be perceived as our ideal clients, but these two people have different world views. Person no. 1 is trying to escape from a negative situation in their life and person no. 2 is trying to move towards a positive outcome. One is running away, the other is running towards something."
3. Find their biggest desire
Next, find out what your ideal client's ultimate desire is. Answer these questions to the best of your ability:
- What is your ideal client's ultimate goal?
- How do they visualize the perfect solution to their problem?
- Is it a program, a personal mentorship, a done-for-you service? (This will help you craft the right offer or redesign your current offer).
4. Find their biggest pain
Once you've identified their biggest desire, it's time to flip the script and identify their biggest pain(s). Then, connect each pain point to your offer to show how your offer solves it.
To find your ideal client's pain points, answer these questions:
- What problem weighs on their mind on a daily basis, even affecting their sleep and multiple aspects of their life?
- What problem would they pay to have solved in an instant if they could?
Bonus tip: If you struggle to answer any of the above questions -- if you struggle to find your ideal clients' worldview, desire, pain points, etc. -- run a survey to a large audience or group of people you believe to be your ideal clients. This will provide accurate data that helps you answer the above questions.
5. Show up where they are looking
When trying to find their ideal clients, most entrepreneurs try to establish themselves and market their business on multiple platforms at once. To find your ideal clients quickly, make sure you strategically show up only on the platforms they are on.
In a phone conversation, David Roger Thompson, founder of The DRT Agency, explained how he applied this strategy to his business by saying, "I chose chiropractors and found a bunch of them on Facebook and even more on LinkedIn. I had 300 friends on Facebook before I started friend requesting chiropractors, and now have 5,000 friends with 80 percent of them being chiropractors. Then I started many meaningful conversations with them, which led to 40+ phone calls over the next 3 months. After about 4 free trials, I found my ideal client which led to 80+ referral opportunities over the next 5 months. This is what happened for me and can happen for anyone."
6. Make sure you are their kind
If you want to become a true expert at finding your ideal clients, you need to become their ideal service provider. This means you need to ensure your brand resonates with the specific type of client you want to attract. Your marketing message and brand collateral all must resonate with your ideal client.
For example, the reason celebrities date other celebrities is because they feel safe dating their own kind.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Are you their kind?
- Are they your kind?
7. Leverage for rapid results and major client attraction
One of the most efficient ways to grow a business is by leveraging existing assets. I've found that this strategy almost always accelerates your sales than any other method.
Instead of trying to find your ideal clients all on your own, form strategic partnerships with people who already have direct access to thousands of your ideal clients.
In a phone conversation with Mitch Miller, CEO and founder of Opposed Media, he expanded on this strategy, saying, "My process for finding your ideal client is extremely easy: leverage. I find people who already have a relationship with them and simply do an endorsement deal. Find out what service, product, or vendor they are currently a customer of, contact said vendors and work out an endorsement deal where they make an endorsed offer to their list about you and you split the profits together, craft an offer for the vendor that makes the vendor look like a superstar, then follow up with an irresistible offer to work with you further."
Following and implementing these seven steps can lead to clarity on who your ideal client is and how to successfully sell to them in the marketplace. Implement these steps starting today and watch your bottom line grow.