Do your referral sources know who your ideal client is? Do you?
I am making a concerted effort to reinvent my practice. This is my second time retooling … the first time was when I started traveling full time in the RV in March 2010 and began offering my report review and project consulting services.
I am moving from compliance-type, tax purpose business valuations to using valuations as the cornerstone of my new transition planning consulting practice. Goodbye BUM, CAPM, and formal IRS reports. Hello IPCPL, completed transactions, and client-tailored “PowerPoint” reports!
As part of my makeover, I put together a profile of my ideal client – the modern term for this is an “avatar.” I sat down for a few hours and imagined (fantasized, really) what a stable of my newest, bestest clients would look like:
- Who would be fun and interesting?
- Who would excite me?
- Who would I not get tired of serving?
From this imagining came my value proposition. And my elevator pitch and my new firm tagline. And the layout of my new website. Even my new report format.
Everything flowed (gushed, really) from MY understanding of what MY ideal client looks like. The process then allowed me to create a template that I can fold into an email or letter of introduction so I can tell my current referral sources EXACTLY what I am up to and what kind of client I can/will serve best.
So what about y’all? What thought have you given to your ideal client avatar? Do your referral sources know? Your friends? Family? Here are some things you might consider … remember, it’s your fantasy.
#1 – Type of valuation work you want to perform
Yep, the s-word (specialization) rears its ugly head. But when YOU have a problem in your home/business that you want to be solved – on time, with certainty – do you call a generalist or a specialist?
#2 – Type of business
Seems to me you can specialize by type of work or type of business: service, manufacturing, distribution, healthcare, software, pharma, etc. I just talked to someone who mentioned an appraiser with a multi-six figure practice who specializes in veterinary practices, of all things.
#3 – Size of business
I hear that valuing large companies is sexier than their (much) smaller brethren. But based on the experience of my business valuation practice, I know this smaller market segment is underappreciated, underserved, and wants/needs help. Then there is the supply and demand thing … there are a lot more smaller companies out there.
#4 – Male or female
Don’t laugh. A female appraiser serving mostly women-owned businesses could be a heck of a niche. This is already playing out in the VC world as a backlash to what is considered a predominantly male-dominated field: women-owned VC firms are being created to cater to women-owned startups.
#5 – Geographic location
If that matters to you. Just remember, we are living in a time when our clients can come from anywhere in the world. And, frankly, the same is true of our competition. It’s a big world that is getting smaller every day.
#6 – How you charge for your work
Hourly or flat fee, bordering on value-based pricing? And for those who roll their eyes at value-based pricing, the biggest pressure to change is being exerted on law firms, you know, one of our biggest sources of referrals. So they get it.
#7 – How you want to get paid
Still by check or are you ready for the brave new world of PayPal, ACH payment, and bank wire transfers. I’ve generally found clients to be very receptive to not having to write more checks.
So there you go. Use this list to (re)create your own client avatar. And then let your referral sources know the kind of referrals you’re looking for.
In real life
I imagine this process sounds like a woo-hoo, New Age exercise. But really, do you or your referral sources really know who your ideal client is? Because marketing to everyone is marketing to no one. Who do you serve best?
– If you like what I write about, tell a colleague.
– If something resonates and you want to reach out directly, email me.
– If you think we share common interests, connect with me on LinkedIn.
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