Do you know your ideal client?

Everyone, no-one or someone? Do you know your ideal client?

Who is your ideal client?  It’s amazing how many times I meet someone at a networking event who happily tells me that everyone is their perfect client!  The most useful thing I learnt back when I started my architecture practice was that if you think everyone is your potential client, you’ll end up getting no-one.  There’s something in our brain that instantly turns off as soon as you say ‘everyone’ or ‘anyone’. 

So how do you get around this?

We like to work with a specific ideal client or an avatar.  The more specific you get, and the less generic you are, the more likely someone is to say “Hey, that’s me!!”  If you don’t have an avatar yet, there are a few easy ways to go about it:

  • Go through your current clients and make a list of your favourite ones.
  • Which clients are great deal with, value your services or products and always pay on time? 
  • Which of your clients already refer you on to other people?

Then look at the commonalities between them and watch for patterns.  For example, I found when I looked at all my clients I was consistently working with families, mainly professional couples often with two children under the age of 6.  In fact, in 9 years we have worked with a single adult family on three occasions, we just hadn’t realised how important families were.  One of my friends thought her clients were mum and dad developers doing subdivisions of land, but when she really looked at found that this actually made up less than a quarter of her clients.  Once we did this research, we then started to create a resume of what this ‘ideal client’ looked like – we call this an avatar.  Instead of being generic and using an ‘everyone’ approach, we went specific.  Where do they live?  What schools do they go to?  What are their hopes, their dreams, their fears?  And what are their problems? 

Once you have an avatar of what your ideal client looks like, you can then use this in a number of ways.  The key to this is to work out where your clients hang out together as a group, and how you can find a way to be a part of that world to.  It’s great to talk to one potential client at a time, but if you can talk to a whole group of them together, even better.  I know of a business education company who now advertises on SourceBottle .  I always find this a great use of avatar, and looking for where else your clients hang out.  For us, once we realised it was families with young children, it meant there was typically a school involved.  We put this in our avatar document, and then started looked at the private primary schools in our area.  We started supporting their events or putting freebies and brochures in their showbags.  We often donate lucky door prizes, and most recently we donated two pieces of art to be raffled off at an event.

My favourite part of avatars is to look at what problems your ideal clients have.  Many businesses will talk about what products or services they sell, but they often forget to talk about what problems they solve.  Yet most people tend to tune out until they hear you can help them with a problem them have.  If you can name their problem, they believe you can fix their problem.  If you can understand their problem, you can then put together a range of services to directly address their problem.  In fact, understanding problems changed the whole language I use about how I market my business. 

We found that many our clients have the same problem – they know they need to renovate their home and have talked about it for years, but they don’t know what to do or how to go about it so instead they do nothing.  We started talking to our existing clients and people at networking events using this language, and found people really responded to this!  And quite often, people who said “Oh that’s just like me!” didn’t realise that we could help them in this situation.  The next step for us what to put together a three hour workshop specifically address this problem and it worked really well for us.  And the best part about this approach is that no one else is doing it! 

So stop and have a think about what problems your clients have.  Look and see if anyone else in your industry is addressing this problem, and if not it’s time to do some research, get specific about your avatar and then tell them how you can help them with their problem.

About Your Guest Blogger: Rebekah Hurworth is CEO and founder of Family Home Experts, a Brisbane based business specialising in housing in Australia, especially family homes.  Founded in 2008, Rebekah is a level one member of the Australian Institute of Architects and her business an ‘A+ Practice’ with RAIA.  In 2015 Rebekah was awarded a Gold Stevie Award in New York for business entrepreneurship.  Rebekah is a regular keynote speaker on topics such as property strategy and how to buy the right home, business education, networking and how to successfully work with designers and architects.  Rebekah has two degrees in architecture from QUT and three businesses.