This is a post about a different layer of investigation of ideal clients and what that really means in practice.
Instead of thinking about their personal characteristics (demographics / psychographics) – this post explores the characteristics that I love and ‘hate’.
That’s a very bold statement for me, hence the ‘agony’ in the title!
I wrote a blog recently about what I learned from Tad Hargrave’s Marketing for Hippies 101 workshop.
Tad’s method of ‘slow marketing’ is underpinned by the principle of helping people get clarity on your approach to the work you do, and enabling them to answer the question “Is it a fit or not?”.
One of my main takeaways from that workshop was the notion that ‘actively seeking rejection is the biggest way to build raving fans’
This is such a radical idea – and one that I wholeheartedly embrace (in principal!) but haven’t done anything more about it in practice….
That is, until I saw one of Tad’s Facebook posts discussing the four levels of your ideal client .
I started answering the questions and making my list, and then at the thought of sharing any of this information, I began to squirm and feel really uncomfortable….
The kind, compassionate part of me is squirming – because I don’t want to upset people.
Part of me doesn’t want to make a big deal out of it – it’s just an objective process of filtering.
But for the sensitive part of me, it’s a HUGE deal – filtering people OUT is saying that I don’t ‘like’ them – it’s a form of rejection.
I think the big sticking point here is that maybe there’s clients I’ve already worked with, who are in the OUT group…
(And I don’t like upsetting people – perhaps because I assume other people will be as sensitive as me, and will be hurt by that rejection)
If you’re a past client of mine, and you recognise yourself in the list of traits I find frustrating and tiring – please don’t be offended.
I like and respect you as a person, I just don’t get on with those traits!
There….. I’ve said it.
It’s out in the open now, phew!
I know that logically, it makes better sense for me to be honest about the kind of people I love to work with and those I really don’t, so that the right people get the absolute best of me when we’re working together. (Win:win for both of us)
So I’ve decided to take a stand for my ideal clients:
“I’m taking a stand to be a beacon for all those people who are a really juicy fit for me, and lovingly release all those people who definitely aren’t”
That means the people who are not a great fit for me don’t come towards me, and they can find another type of help which is better suited to them, (and they will get even better results!)
Here’s the traits of my ideal clients:
This is not an exhaustive list, and it’s not set in stone.
It’s my considered thoughts based on my experience so far, and I know it may change and evolve as I go along. (and that’s exciting – as I get more clarity I can filter even more deeply IN and OUT!)
I’m sharing in the hope that you might find it sparks some insight for you, in deciding who you really love (or hate) to work with.
My brain works in a very logical way – I love detail and structure, and I love defined goals and outcomes.
I find it more tiring and frustrating to work with people on abstract things (because in my mind it’s not really ‘achieving’ anything, and I worry whether I’m actually being ‘useful’ to that person)
Level 1 – Roughly who?
I work with people who are solopreneurs in heart-centred service businesses – (either already self-employed, or who would like to be)
Level 2 – what HAS to be true for these people to be a client
TOP 3 MUST HAVES:
- They need to be struggling with some aspect of their business and/or it’s not where they want it to be. (and they know deep down that part of the problem is an internal blockage of some sort – eg a lack of confidence, procrastination/avoidance of doing tasks either IN or ON their business.
- They need to have the funds available to pay me full price.
- They need to be mentally stable and feeling psychologically balanced.
The rest of the Must Haves
- They need to have trained and/or be skilled in some modality which helps/heals or creates for animals or humans. (eg coach, therapist, holistic practitioner, designer)
- They need to have had some experience of working with clients (either free or paid) and have some idea of the type of people they would love to work with.
- They need to be ready, willing and able to do the work to change things; to be motivated to change, and to take action!
Level 3 – the qualities of my DREAM clients (I LOVE it when clients are like this)
- Very clear detailed perception with linear structured thinking.
- Goal oriented, with awareness and respect for time keeping, and getting the most effective use of our time together.
- Intelligent and articulate, able to reason and enquire and judge, with depth and breadth, giving their whole attention to how things are currently and what they’d like to change.
- People who love to reflect, to think deeply about things, and who bring their whole focus of attention on the challenge at hand.
- They are curious to learn and understand their deeper struggles and motivations, and are willing to be vulnerable and uncomfortable in the pursuit of new understanding and self-awareness.
- They are open and willing to explore their inner child, nurturing mother and other internal parts of themselves, and believe that the key to better functioning on the outside is to have great functioning on the inside (at the psychological/emotional level).
- They have a clear sense of the type of clients they’d like to work with, they’ve already done some marketing training and have some grasp of what marketing methods they enjoy or don’t enjoy.
- They need marketing help, and are open to learning the building blocks of effective marketing.
- They take action from our calls – they ‘work’ consistently on the topics at hand, outside of our calls, and they come to the next call well prepared, with a progress update and having decided beforehand what they’d like to get from our call.
- They love learning, and are willing to stretch outside of their comfort zone in the pursuit of new skills and understanding (and a more successful business).
Level 4 – The dealbreakers – what is an absolute NO for me.
- People who have no clear idea of what they want to achieve, and cannot articulate a motivating factor to work with (I’m not interested in wasting my time convincing someone they need coaching!)
- People who just want marketing help, and are not willing to consider that their internal ‘stuff’ might be getting in their way.
People I find exhausting/frustrating to work with:
People who find it difficult to ‘get to the point’, or who fill our time with irrelevant ‘chatter’, and end up wasting the session time so we’ve got nothing much achieved.
It feels really vulnerable, but somehow very liberating to be honest about this.
I trust that there are plenty of my ‘favourite’ kinds of people out there for me to work with, and I’m excited at the prospect of filtering those people IN and the others OUT!
Try the exercise for yourself and see how you get on!
(Here’s the link to Tad’s post again (Tad’s Facebook post discussing the four levels of your ideal client .)
Over to you:
I’d love to know how this lands with you.
What comes up for you when you do this exercise (and is it tough for you to be ‘honest’ about what you don’t like?)
Please share by leaving a comment in the box below. Remember you might just help someone else!
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