I hope our last conversation about your ideal client inspires you to build out your profile for them. Because you will never know the kind and depth of relationship you can have with that client – and how to reach them – until you go through the exercise of describing them.
On to this week. Considering it was a long holiday weekend, I got a lot of comments on last week’s newsletter. (Thanks for the feedback!) Most of those comments centered around this question: Can I have more than one ideal client? The answer deserves a follow-on post.
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When it comes to practice development – or anything else for that matter – stop caring about what others are doing. Instead, care about WHY you care about what others are doing.
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As a younger adult, I was captivated by the Highlander movies and, later, the TV series. Cheesy, yes. Absurd, maybe. But when I began writing this post I was reminded of the shows’ credo: “There can be only one.”
Can there be only one ideal client?
Because “ideal” implies just one.
But if there can be more than one, how many more?
Unlike Hardball with Hitchner conference sessions, the answer is: “It depends.”
#1 – It depends on how we define client
Is our client a referral source or the client of a referral source?
But even then, we should be still targeting one type of ideal client.
#2 – It depends on whom we are trying to reach
Is our client a specific individual or a type of business?
For example, a business owner for a specialized practice area like exit planning.
Or automobile dealerships that will need a variety of services over their life cycle.
#3 – It depends on our firm size
This is a biggie.
Are we an army, or an army of one?
Because each ideal client type should have a champion at the firm.
Someone who knows everything about them, depending on how “them” is defined.
Someone who has built up Authority for serving that ideal client type.
So the smaller our firm, the fewer ideal client types we can have.
And if we are a solo, two is probably our max. Even then, they should be related.
For example, the ideal client for our transactional valuation services (gift/estate/PPA) could be manufacturers. And the ideal client for our transformational valuation services (exit planning) could be those owners.
Our span of control
Ultimately, the number of ideal clients depends on our span of control.
At one end of the spectrum, here is a factor within our control: our sanity.
The more client types we serve, the more information we have to keep up with.
And even if we can keep up, we will run ourselves ragged trying to do it.
Why would we want to do that?
At the other end of the spectrum, here is a factor beyond our control: prospect perception.
The best prospects (those who understand the value we bring to the table and are willing to pay for that value) want BVFLS professionals who have solved their problem type “hundreds” of times, successfully.
No prospect is going to believe we can do that for them if our marketing says we do it for “everyone.”
We don’t market for. We market to.
For example, we don’t market for BVFLS services … we market to the people who need those services. And since not everyone needs BVFLS services for the same reason, we have to market to the reason.
This causes us to be very specific about our ideal clients and naturally limits the number we can serve.
For practitioners who don’t have an ideal client, every client is an ideal client.
Is that who you want to be?
In real life
I love asking these questions.
My hope is that they will get us to think more about what we do, who we serve … and how we reach who we serve to tell them about what we do!
Because if we don’t know who we are marketing to, we are wasting time and money and wondering why what we are doing isn’t effective.
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