Creating an ideal client avatar is a fundamental exercise when starting a business. It shapes your entire approach, from pricing (considering the budget of a single mom versus a Fortune 500 CEO) to addressing pain points (focusing on individual concerns rather than shareholders). Even small details like the colour of your logo can be influenced by this vision. Establishing a clear image of your ideal client will greatly impact your business strategy.
So you spend a few hours considering things such as:
· Age group
· Family status
· Lifestyle goals
Maybe you even write up a cute little story about your ideal client. Give her a name, a couple of kids, a husband who just doesn’t get it, and a lot of stress about paying the bills. You think you know a lot about her, right?
But here’s the thing, if you stop there, you might be missing a huge piece of the puzzle—and missing out on the absolute best clients because of it.
You may have heard or even been asked what keeps your ideal client awake at night. Getting the answer to this question right will change your business. Too many times this question is answered with a generic answer because you don’t really know. Look hard at the situation. Boil it down. Don’t try and be fancy here, the answer is usually quite simple.
Let’s take my ideal client. She has a service based business and wants to grow it, but she also has a family to manage. Why is this tricky? Because she has ADHD but doesn’t know it. Her kids have ADHD and need help and support. Her kids suffer from anxiety, they have trouble at school, and need a lot more from her as a Mum. Her ADHD goes largely undiagnosed because she has been dealing with it all her life and doesn’t know any different.
So what keeps her up at night when it comes to her business? You might think it is her marketing, or sales, getting more clients or managing her books. Yes to all of these things on the surface. But running underneath all of that is what she really wants. What she really needs. It is what is running through her head when she is trying to get to sleep.
She wants things to be easy, to not feel like she is failing everyone – at the same time! To be able to have a bit of time for herself and pay for a massage without feeling guilty about spending the money on something for her.
Can you see how this all connects on a much different level?
Personality Mismatch: Understanding and Dealing with Personality Differences
When it comes to the “ideal client” equation, there’s something often overlooked but undeniably crucial: personality. If you’re all about being snarky, sarcastic, fun-loving, and loud, it’s unlikely that a quiet, middle-aged woman who devotes her time to volunteering at the church would be a perfect match for you. Sure, she might need your help and even enjoy your products, but for one-on-one coaching, this pairing would be a disaster. Either she’d feel uncomfortable with your style, or you’d be utterly miserable trying to suppress your natural exuberance. It’s better to pass mom on to a coach who is a better personality fit for her.
The same holds true for the opposite. If you’re a shy, introverted type, who is only comfortable with the written word and enjoys deep conversations, then your ideal client probably isn’t going to be an outgoing extrovert who prefers quick emails and brief phone calls.
To really get to know your ideal client—and make sure that both of you are set up for success—you have to dig deeper beneath the surface. Learn about their values, their hopes, and what drives them. And consider your own values and work style too. Does she share your views or do you think it will be a challenge to connect? It’s helpful to understand where differences may lie so that you can adjust if needed.
Many times, my clients kind of dance around the fact that their ideal client is actually themselves from 5 years ago. Who could understand the journey and offer help better than someone who has already travelled the same road? It’s totally natural for service-based business owners to start their ventures to assist others in avoiding or going through the exact same experiences they’ve had. Let’s help each other out!
The key to success lies in your drive and determination.
Calculating this one from the get-go can be tricky, but once you spot it (or the lack of it), it’s definitely worth your attention. Dealing with a client who lacks the drive to succeed will often lead to frustration for both of you. It’s better to end things early when you see the signs rather than wasting time going over the same material and exercises repeatedly with someone who simply won’t put in the effort. Let’s save ourselves from that headache, shall we?
Take the training wheels off and go full throttle.
No matter how much you think you know about your ideal client, refining that knowledge can never hurt. Take some time to really dig in and get to know them beyond the surface level basics. And if they don’t exist yet? Go out and find them!
If you look at your current and past coaching clients, you’ll begin to see patterns. You can easily look back and see what made some clients a joy to work with, while others were a struggle. Think about what those differences are, and add them to your ideal client profile. Then compare any new potential clients to this ideal profile, and you’ll never again sign on with a less-than-perfect client. That’s how you create a perfect match.
Start with the goal in mind and build toward it.
Before diving into any client engagement, it’s important to have a crystal-clear understanding of what success means for everyone involved. Picture this: What does the successful completion of your services actually look like? How will both sides know when they’ve hit that sweet spot? Having this goal in mind from the get-go will help you smoothly navigate any bumps in the road that may pop up later on.
Successful interactions with your ideal client come down to communication, understanding, and trust. Establishing a connection on these levels will lead to more prosperous collaborations and hopefully repeat customers for years to come. So take the time now to get to know them and make sure they understand what you can do for them. That way, there will be no doubt that you are the perfect fit for each other.
When it comes down to it, you gotta have a real good grasp of who your ideal client is if you wanna ace those business relationships. No shortcuts here, folks. Keep digging until you really get what they need and what makes ’em tick. And hey, this is a chance for some self-discovery too!