There are many parts to the puzzle of growing your business. Here's a quick 10–15 minute planning exercise that will save you countless hours of marketing. It is identifying your ideal client by creating a profile. Doing this will empower you to screen prospects efficiently so you spend your valuable time efficiently. Every marketing tactic you do going forward stems from this ideal client profile.
You can't find something if you don't know what you're looking for. So the first question that you really need to ask yourself is:
"What kind of PERSON buys my services?"
Notice that I said person, not company. The decision to buy your specific services is made buy a person. For a prospect who buys IT services, for example, if that person doesn't have a clear understanding of the risks of not keeping their technology up to date, doing data backup, or understanding different data security options, then they won't buy the right solution, if they buy anything at all.
Contents of Your Ideal Client Profile
The ideal client profile is known in marketing circles as a buyer persona. For your ideal client, identify the following information:
- Organization size
- Job title and role within the organization
- Who has budget authority
- Key problems they face and how your solutions saves time, money and relieves headaches
- Roles of influencers like internal staff, accountants, peers
- Buying cycles such as the government's fiscal year, seasonality, end of year planning
- Professional associations they join
- Conferences they attend
- Publications they read
What things do your clients have in common? You might say your clients are all over the map. Some small, some large. Calculate an average. Your goal is to figure out what your typical client looks like. If your ideal client is a larger company than those you serve now, make a note of it. Marketing strategies to find larger clients are different than those to find smaller ones.
Maybe you'll find that you have an inherent specialty in a particular niche (side note: focusing on a niche market helps position you as the expert company for that market). Look for patterns within your own client base. This is such a simple task, yet it so often overlooked. So, why is this 10 minute exercise so important? Because...
If you know what your clients look like, you know what to look for in a prospect.
It means that you save a lot of time and effort avoiding leads that are not realistic prospects for you. It also helps keep you focused so you don't take on all kinds of business and end up spreading yourself too thin. You can only scale if you focus.