Knowing exactly how to identify your ideal client can seem like a challenging task. This post will provide the clarity and direction you need to get started. This process doesn’t have to be overwhelming. In order to successfully identify your ideal client, it all comes down to asking the right questions.
Having a crystal clear idea of your audience is crucial to the success of your business.
I know, I know… you’ve heard this a million times before.
When you can identify your ideal client, the ability to communicate the value that you offer becomes a whole lot easier.
Communicating value is how you can stand out from your competition. Communicating value also allows you to attract and book clients who acknowledge and appreciate your expertise. It encourages your audience to look beyond the price and focus on the benefits of your offering and the overall value that you offer.
The first step to communicating value is knowing your audience. And knowing your audience (on an authentic, genuine level), comes down to asking the right questions.
This can be achieved through the use of surveys, Facebook groups or in-person interviews. Keep in mind that this is not the time to play a guessing game! You might be thinking one thing about your ideal client that, in reality, is the complete opposite.
If I was to ask you to describe your ideal client, your immediate response may relate to their gender, their age, where they work etc.
More often than not though, I feel like we get so caught up in the general details. We overlook the questions that we really need to be asking to truly get a clear idea of who this person is.
I mean, is knowing the exact age of your ideal client really going to impact whether they choose to buy from you or not?
We need to look at their lifestyle, behaviours and what they value in relation to your product or service. People generally respond when they feel as though they are understood. Ultimately, this is how an emotional connection is established between you and them.
So, below I have listed 9 questions which (if answered accurately), will allow you to properly identify your ideal client. Here we go…
1. What would someone say about your ideal client before he/she works with you?
This question is so you can determine what your ideal client is experiencing before they start working with you. How are they feeling? What does their lifestyle look like? Think about their current situation in relation to your product or service. What sort of emotions, thoughts, conversations would they be having or experiencing?
2. What does your ideal client’s business/outlook on life look like after working with you?
This is basically the opposite of the previous question. How are they feeling now that they have purchased your product or service? What is the emotional outcome of working with you? What type of benefits are they experiencing as a result? How has their outlook changed? Remember, this needs to be as accurate as possible. Reach out to previous clients that closely match with your ideal client description.
3. What are your ideal client’s pain points? What problems are they currently experiencing?
This question asks you to think about why they would want to purchase from you in the first place. What has prompted them to start thinking about your product or service? What are they not liking about their current situation? This needs to be as specific as possible. If relevant, consider their problem from an emotional, physical, mental and social perspective.
4. What are some hesitations your ideal client might be experiencing in relation to your product or service?
This question not only relates to objections they may have surrounding your product or service, but the fears that may be triggered as a result of thinking about purchasing.
For example, I recently organised a brand photoshoot. I’ll admit, it was something I had been putting off for ages and even after I had met with the photographers, I was still hesitant about going through with it.
I kept trying to think of excuses… “I’m not ready..” “My business isn’t at the stage I want it to be yet…” “I don’t have anything for them to take photos of…” Any excuse I could possibly think of. Fear was stopping me from moving forward. And because this was something that was WAY out my comfort zone, my ego was trying to keep me safe.
Now, this had nothing to do with the photographers I had hired at all. I absolutely loved their work and felt confident that they were going to do an amazing job no matter what (you can check out their site here!). The problem was with me – my thoughts, my fears, my insecurities.
Thankfully, I was able to push past the fears and as you may have noticed, I now have a range of beautiful, professional-looking images on my site in place of the generic stock photos I had before – YAY!!! However, this may be something worth thinking about when it comes to your product or service.
By acknowledging these fears, you can convey a level of understanding and care towards your ideal client before they’ve even made contact with you. In turn, this will help them to feel confident in your business and reduce the barriers to purchase.
5. If your ideal client was thinking about purchasing your product or service, what would be the first step they would take?
This question does not necessarily relate to where you are likely to find your ideal client. It is more about the first step they would take if they were thinking about purchasing your product or service. For example, when I was doing my “photographer research” the first place I went to was Google. I searched “brand photography Adelaide”. From there, I either went to the business websites or Facebook to find their website.
For me personally, my decision was not only based on the quality of work, but the quality of their website. Depending on needs and goals, this may be different for your ideal client. A couple looking for a wedding photographer may go to Instagram, drawn in by the visual component and the emotional connection they feel to the images first. Again, directly asking your audience is the best way to find answers to these questions.
6. What does your ideal client value most in relation to your product or service?
When it comes to your product or service, what is most important. What do they need to hear, read, receive, feel etc. in order to determine whether your product or service is good value for money.
7. What are they hoping to achieve as a result of purchasing your product or service?
This question is closely related to the previous one. It is primarily about the benefits your ideal client will experience as a result of purchasing your product or service. To answer this question, it is important to go beyond the features of your product or service. Your customers aren’t interested in product features or package inclusions. The only thing they truly care about is “what’s in it for them”. Therefore, when answering this question, it is important to focus on the emotional outcome associated with your product or service.
For example, when someone hires a makeup artist, they’re not really wanting a professional makeup application. They’re wanting to feel confident. They’re wanting to feel beautiful. They might be wanting to treat themselves, to feel special and pampered. They might also want a professional to do their makeup so they don’t have to stress about it themselves. So they can look at photos down the track, feeling confident that they look their best.
8. What is your ideal client’s biggest question in relation to your product or service? What do they want to know more about when it comes to your product or service?
This question is largely related to establishing trust and confidence with your ideal client. What do they need to know in order to move from prospect to client? What is their main barrier to purchase? Answering this question will again, allow you to communicate value to your ideal client. It will convey a level of understanding and set you apart from your competition.
9. What will be the cost for your ideal client if they choose not to buy your product or service?
This is an important question to answer when it comes to creating urgency. It is important that your audience realises the cost of not taking action – the impact of not purchasing your product or service. When you speak directly to your ideal client, you encourage them to imagine how they might feel in certain situations.
When you describe the benefits of your product or service, you encourage them to imagine their “desired situation”. In saying that, it is also important to encourage them to imagine what might happen if they decide not to go ahead with purchasing your product or service.
What are the consequences that they might experience? Once you know the answer to this question and you can communicate it to your audience effectively, this will assist to reduce barriers to purchase.
Remember, identifying your ideal client can be an ongoing process. However, the sooner you start, the better. This will create an initial foundation to work from, which will consequently allow you to attract and connect with people who are aligned with your message, brand and business values.