I ONCE ASKED ONE OF MY IDEAL CLIENTS (who happened to also be an actual client), which of the tools I shared with her were the most powerful and had the most impact on her business growth. At the top of her list was the Ideal Client Avatar exercise.
“After I completed the Ideal Client Avatar exercise, I realized why I had not been able to exceed the $250,000 annual revenue ceiling in my business (a solo law practice); it was because I was going after the wrong the client this whole time,” she said.
In her case, she was a business lawyer focusing her marketing efforts on start-up businesses and pre-revenue entrepreneurs, meaning people with either little or no money, or ideas, but not actual businesses. When she switched to targeting larger “small” businesses, ones that had already progressed from the start-up stage to the enterprise stage, her practice began to grow again, allowing her to bring on an associate, and catapulting her annual revenue from $250,000 to $500,000 (and, eventually, beyond).
THE BIG THREE
You see, before you can effectively grow your business, you must be able to answer, with 100 percent certainty, these three questions:
1. Whom do you serve (who is your ideal client)?
2. How do you serve them (what wake-up-at-3:00-a.m. problem do you solve for them in a unique way)?
3. How do you get in front of them to initiate a conversation about how you serve them (where do they hang out online and off)?
The best place to start is with your current clients. Of your current clients, is there one you think “Oh, man, if I just had 10 more clients like her (or him), I’d be so happy!”
OTHER QUESTIONS TO ASK
If so, take a moment to write down everything you know about that client: Is this person male or female? How old is he or she? What is the nature of his or her business/industry/career? What are their hobbies, interests, values? What is their level of education? What is their income? Net worth? Can they afford to pay your fees with ease? What is their money story? How did you meet them? How did they hear about you? What made them decide to hire you? Did they conduct research before hiring you? How? To whom did they talk about hiring you before they did (a spouse? a friend? a referrer?) What problem do you solve for them? What other problems do they have that you might be able to help with in the future? What’s their family life like? Married? Children? Single? Where do they hang out? What are their friends like? Do they have pets? Are they involved in their community? If so, in what way?
Write down everything you know about them. The questions I have provided are a starting point. Notice I included both demographics (facts about them) and psychographics (attitudes, aspirations, beliefs etc.). Some of the questions may seem to apply to you and your practice areas and clients, and some may not. The point is: the more you know about your ideal client–the clearer the picture you can get of them in your head–the more effective you will be in communicating with them through your marketing messages.
If you don’t have any clients (yet) you consider to be ideal, whom would you consider ideal if you could choose? Create a fictional profile starting with the questions above. Give them a name, age, gender, profession, education, income, net worth, hobbies, interests, family, character traits and anything else you consider important to know about them.
THE CLIENT AVATAR
Also, remember, we are creating a profile of an IDEAL client, an AVATAR, or representation of a client. Often times, when I ask clients to complete this exercise, they will protest and say: “My clients are all over the place. Some are men and some are women. Some are married and some are single. Some are rich and some are poor.” This isn’t about creating a profile of your existing clients; this is about getting a vision in your head of the exact type of person you dream of helping. It’s about asking for that which you desire.
Now, ask yourself, where do these ideal clients hang out online and off? What kinds of books and magazines do they read? What websites do they frequent? Where do they hang out in person? Are they in clubs? Professional organizations? At the PTA? Behind their computer all day? On their smartphone? Doing volunteer work?
Once you have a solid ideal client profile created–an avatar with a fictitious name, etc.–you will more easily spot your ideal clients when they show up in your life. They may not look exactly like your avatar, but as you meet more and more of them, you’ll quickly learn to discern which of the characteristics you’ve identified are most important and which are deal breakers. Soon, you’re book of business will be filled with ideal clients, and, not only will you feel happier and more satisfied in your business, your bank account will get fatter and happier, too.
P.S. If you would like help creating a plan to grow your law practice exponentially in 2018, reach out to me to schedule a complimentary consultation to discuss your particular needs, wants and desires.