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Wednesday
Feb152012

Who Is Your Ideal Client (and Why Should You Care?)

I’ve spent a lot of time over the past year trying to identify who my “Ideal Client” is. 

The ideal client is that person, or group of people, you are most likely and able to help with your business’s product or service.  It’s a marketing term.  Knowing who your ideal client is also helps you identify who you most enjoy working with.  It doesn’t make much sense to serve a particular group of people if you don’t really like working with them or having them as customers.

The exercises that have helped me hone in on my ideal client have also added much to my understanding of what I actually do in my business, how I do it and why I do it.  I learned these exercises from one of my mentors, the creator of Conscious Marketing, Lisa Cherney http://consciousmarketing.com.  The first sentence of her website reads, “We specialize in identify your passions and helping you articulate it through your marketing communications.”

It becomes much easier to create a marketing message when you figure out what you are really passionate about doing, whom it is that you are meant to do it for, and whom you most enjoy serving.

I’ve determined over the course of my career that I’m passionate about helping many people see their own potential for living life fully and on their own terms, and then helping them move in a positive direction to achieve that.  It's not hard to see how being an ER doctor wasn't completely fulfilling that vision for myself.

Fast forward to 2011 when I began my coaching practice.  I initially decided to offer my services to doctors, because I know how many doctors would benefit from what I offer and I know how powerful it can be for doctors to find their true path and get re-inspired.  Everyone wins when that happens.

But as I was doing my exercises and soul-searching to hone in on my ideal client, I wasn’t visualizing a doctor. In fact, my ideal client didn’t have one specific job, or a specific age range, gender or skin color.  They might be married or single, have pets or not, drive a sports car or a pickup truck.

After more than a year of ongoing work in this critical element of my business, I'm happy to say that I have finally been able to identify three characteristics that every single one of my ideal clients shares:

  1. They are at a transition point in their life and are trying to figure out how to best go forward
  2. They are ready to do things differently than they have before- they are open to a new way
  3. They want to have a positive impact on the world

Many doctors fall into this category, but so do many writers, teachers, lawyers, artists, entrepreneurs, students, retirees, gardeners and coaches.  My ideal client is actually me, a few years back.  Not the “me” that was a doctor—the “me” that was a human being passionate about creating an amazing life of freedom, joy and abundance, and committed to serving humanity in a meaningful way.

The ideal client exercise is a great way to help you get clarity on who you are best able to and interested in serving.  Doctors should spend whatever time and money necessary to figure out who their ideal clients are.

If a doctor determines that they are especially passionate about working with people who share a certain set of characteristics (perhaps working with people trying to become more physically fit, or people trying to lose weight, or young parents) they can focus their marketing energy and dollars on reaching out to these groups and will ultimately develop a niche in that area. People will want to come to that doctor because the doctor wants to serve them. The doctor will surround themself with the people they most enjoy working with- a clear win-win.  It may not happen this way overnight, but it will happen if they're committed to it happening.

The ideal client exercise spreads out to other areas of life too.  As we start thinking about whom we most want to serve in our businesses, we can’t help but consider the characteristics and qualities of the people we want to spend time with in the rest of our lives.  We start to “weed out” those relationships that don’t add value and focus on surrounding ourselves with people of higher quality and substance with whom we are more aligned.

I hope this has stimulated some thoughts for you.  I would enjoy hearing from you about the ideal client concept and how you think it could apply to your life and career.

Wishing you health, happiness, peace and prosperity.

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