Identifying Your Perfect Client

There is a lot of truth in the familiar business maxim that 80% of your sales will come from only 20% of your clients. So it’s logical to try and ensure that as much of this magic 20% as possible is made up of ‘ideal’ clients. But how do you identify your company’s ideal clients, and then convince them to become customers?

The first step is to define your own company, your products or services and your unique selling proposition (USP) within your market niche. Because if you do not clearly know who you are, and what you do, you will find it extremely hard to pinpoint your ideal clients. Despite the two being obviously tightly interlinked however, it is surprising how many companies do not take the time to do this exercise on an annual basis. So make the effort, it is well worth it. In fact smart entrepreneurs will even go the extra mile and look at competitors too, as well as keeping themselves abreast of the sector as a whole. After all, ideal clients will expect you to be a ideal provider, and a big part of this is being an expert in your field.

Next you need to define who is your perfect customer. So what are the characteristics of an ideal client?

Well, obviously financial issues are right at the top of the list, as all businesses want customers who pay well, and on time. No one wants a client who defaults, for a small business a bad debt could be catastrophic.  Take a look at the client’s credit history if possible, or any other factors which could affect financial stability as caution is the best philosophy in this area. Also do discuss your payment terms with possible patrons at the outset. Ideal clients will always welcome an open discussion about this, cashflow is king for any business and you want customers who respect this as much as you do yourself.

Money is not the only issue though. An ideal client will have a number of other qualities. For example they will not make unreasonable demands on you or your time, as they will appreciate you are busy and do have other clients. In addition they will communicate clearly and quickly with you so that you are able to respond as efficiently as possible to their requests or queries.

For many executives it makes sense to note down the profile of an ideal client, and always keep it in the back of your mind as the benchmark to aim for when looking at new sales opportunities. Factors such as location, age, income and gender might be very important, as could attitudes and interests.

Once you have identified your ideal client, you will need to engage them in a manner that builds confidence in you as an expert in the sector, and thus a possible supplier. Step one in this will be to investigate the best way to communicate with them, bearing in mind that the key aim will be to get these possible ideal clients to visit your website as soon as possible.

In years gone by companies had to rely solely on offline marketing to spread the word; options were limited to the printed media and networking events such as exhibitions or conferences.  These are still valid tools and should not be discounted, but online marketing is quicker and cheaper to reach a much wider audience. So research which online platforms your ideal clients like to use, whether it is Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, and then have an active presence on them yourselves. It is no use simply just having online networking accounts which you don’t use though. These days ideal clients will expect you to stay in touch with them via Facebook, Twitter or by news alerts, and that is the way you will constantly remind them why you are their chosen expert in the field, their ideal provider the company they trust.