10 February 2010

Step 3 for Getting More Clients

Here's the simple secret:

To get more clients, narrow your sights.

I know that sounds crazy. I know it defies "logic."

I know it works.

By narrow your sights I mean focus on a specifically defined ideal client type. "People who need your help" is not a specific client type. Neither is "women with anxiety," or "children and adolescents," or "men with substance abuse issues," although each of those is a toenail closer to a useful definition.

A mistake I hear counselors, coaches and NDs make all the time is in equating the idea of the ideal client with the majority of people who already happen to show up in your practice. I always ask new clients, who is your ideal client, and they always tell me, "well, I see a lot of .....", or they say, "right now, I'm mostly getting people who...."

No. People who happen to show up when your marketing message is vague and disconnected from specific problems and their impact in daily life are not usually our ideal clients. Any warm body is not the ideal client, folks. Any paying customer is not the goal to shoot for if you want your business to thrive.

So how do you know who your ideal client is? Well, who do you want it to be? You get to decide.

Determining your ideal client is like painting a picture, or better, like writing a screenplay with characters who:

  • have the problems you are passionately interested in working with
  • make you feel competent and great at what you do
  • make your heart sing when they achieve a breakthrough
  • leave you more energized at the end of day seeing 8 of them back to back

Stop and think about this right now: What kind of client with what type of problem would be ideal for you to work with?

And don't sabotage yourself here by thinking that you'll get bored with just one type, or that you have too many interests to pick just one, or that you really don't know. Let me assure you that marketing to a specifically and narrowly defined ideal client niche will NOT prevent others from asking for an appointment. That's another counter-intuitive but absolutely true phenomenon in client attraction marketing. So don't give that another thought.

Deciding what kind of client with what type of problem is your ideal helps you know where to spend your marketing dollars. Their demographic features -- who are they and their problems -- help you correctly identify where they can be found. When you know where they can be found, you know what kind of marketing you'll need to do to reach them.

Deciding how their problem impacts their daily life, and what they want instead tells you what they need to hear from you in order to be motivated to spend money on your services. These psychographic features -- how they feel about their problem, and what motivates them to change -- help you correctly hone your marketing message. When you have an emotionally compelling marketing message it's like laying a trail of bread crumbs to your phone number or email.

Step 3 -- identify your ideal client -- is the step on which all the rest of your marketing will pivot. There's nothing more essential than this.

Coaching questions:

1. What types of problems are easy for you to help clients resolve?
2. What kind of suffering is rewarding for you to help end?
3. What kind of people do you naturally align or resonate with?
4. How old are they, in what occupational category, with what level of education and income?
5. What do these people who suffer from those problems desperately want?
6. What will they be willing to pay anything -- out of pocket -- to have?
7. What do you know without doubt you can help them achieve?

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