A common struggle for entrepreneurs is identifying their ideal client or target audience. The problem is that it’s really scary to limit your client or customer base to a subset of people. I mean, I can coach anyone so why wouldn’t I have everyone in my target audience? The issue with trying to appeal to everyone is that you end up appealing to no one.
Even knowing this, it’s terrifying for entrepreneurs to narrow the focus. Mostly because of the fear of potentially leaving money on the table. No one wants to do that. However, being very specific in the creation of your ideal client or customer profile will actually help you make more money not less. The easiest way to narrow the focus is to ask yourself not “who can I serve?” but rather “who do I want to serve?”
One of the best processes I’ve heard for narrowing your client focus was presented by Mitch Matthews on one of his Dream. Think. Do. Podcasts. He teaches a process called The 5 P’s of Getting to Know Your Ideal Client. Following this process allows you to begin with the “who” in mind. Here is what Mitch recommends.
· P – Profile
The first P in the process of defining who you want to serve is to create their profile. This profile can be based on demographics (gender, age, job description, hobbies, etc). It can also be value based, meaning based on your ideal client’s goals, interests, and beliefs. Or even a combination of the two.
The key here is to make the profile specific enough to help you make decisions. It’s amazing how much easier marketing and networking decisions become when you have a clearer picture of the profile of your ideal client/customer.
· P – Problems
In order to have a viable business, you must solve a problem(s) for people. Having a deep understanding of the problems your potential clients/customers face and then being able to describe those problems better than they can will position you as part of the solution for the problem they are facing. What do they want to fix or change? They may not have even ever shared the problem with anyone before. Your ability to articulate what they are experiencing will make you seem like a mind reader to them.
The better you are at isolating the problems, the easier it will be to speak their language through your blogs, marketing, speaking opportunities, etc.
· P – Passions
The third P in the process is to understand your ideal client’s passions. What would they love to become? What would they love to do? What are their desired outcomes?
Knowing their passions will allow you to paint the picture of how their life could look if they allowed you to solve their problems.
· P – Paradigms/Mindset
The fourth P can be a little challenging because we know we can be helpful to people even before they know we can be helpful to them. Being able to recognize a person’s paradigm or current mindset will help you determine if they are ready for your solution. Are they open to what you are offering? What season are they in? Meaning, is the timing right? Some people will be a better fit later than they are now. And, often over looked but very important – are they jerks or someone you would really enjoy helping. It doesn’t matter if they are purchasing a sofa or hiring you to remodel their kitchen, no one really likes dealing with jerks and you shouldn’t have to if you don’t want to.
Understanding the current paradigm or mindset of a person ready to take action will help you identify when someone isn’t ready to take action. This will save you a countless amount of time and frustration.
· P – Payment
The last P is very important. Just because they agree your solution will work, doesn’t mean they will pay for your solution. Identifying the type of person willing to spend money on what you have to offer will also save you a ton of time and frustration.
As a practical application of this process, sit down with pen and paper and follow these four steps.
1. A & E – write down anyone and everyone you could work with.
2. First Draft – experiment with an ideal client profile by working through the 5 Ps. This will start to give you clarity to focus your efforts.
3. Experiment & Adjust – begin using your draft profile to guide your actions and efforts. This is an experiment. Review the impact and don’t be afraid to adjust the profile until it feels effortless and exactly in line with who you want to serve.
4. Micro-niche – after a few adjustments you will end up with a very specific description of the micro-niche you were born to serve. You will know it and your ideal client/customer will know it as well.
It takes a ton of courage to draw a line in the sand when it comes to target clients/customers. However, if you are able to take this step in your business, you will definitely reap the rewards. First, your ideal clients will know you are talking specifically to them. And second, you can leverage your efforts and your resources by focusing them in and on the right activities. And who wants to work with anyone when you can work with the exact right someone?