If you’ve ever worked with a client who was not ideal, you probably haven’t clearly identified your ideal customer profile yet. So let me ask, what was that experience like for you? What was it like for your client?If you answered along the lines of, “painful,” “unsatisfying,” or “stressful,” I’m right there with you. When your clients are not ideal, it’s hard to work with them, neither one of you will enjoy the process, and the client will most likely not get the results they were looking for.
So, if you want to know more about why you should only be working with ideal clients in your coaching or consulting business, and why it’s so important to get amazing client results and gain happiness from your business – click the video below to watch, or simply read on.
In the beginning of your coaching or consulting career, you might be working with pretty much anybody that comes your way. Of course, we all need to be making money – and in the beginning you want to get the experience of working with actual paying clients. But over time, you might realize that it just might not be worth working with people who are not ideal. I know I made that mistake and learned from it, so now it’s really important for us to create an ideal customer profile so we can identify people who are perfect for our programs and we know the relationship will be pleasant and beneficial for all involved.
Working With “Less Than Ideal” Clients
When you work as a coach or or a consultant, chances are that you’ll quickly realize when a client isn’t ideal. Why is this important? In my business, the only refund requests I have ever received were from clients that weren’t ideal.
It’s also very disappointing when you feel as though your advice and guidance fall on deaf ears – you feel as though your clients are just not following through and your coaching isn’t working. Although this may not be their fault – they may simply not have the resources, the know-how, the determination, or the commitment to do the work – there is still a gap between where these clients are and where they need to be to benefit from your coaching.
A communication or mindset mismatch can also happen when you work with non-ideal clients. When personality or communication styles clash, sometimes the client doesn’t feel understood, which can create animosity of frustration between the client and the coach. Style differences between quick communicators and slow processors or information seekers can also lead some clients to feel under pressure, which can create a negative energy as they’re moving through the program as well.
Creating Your Ideal Customer Profile
To begin, you should do ideal client research by conducting interviews. Make a list of criteria that you want (and don’t want) to see in your ideal client avatar – then check them off as you interview. This list will also be beneficial as you create marketing materials for your business.
So, let’s talk a little bit about some of the criteria might be to identify these clients so you can work with more of the perfect people.
For business coaches like myself, for example, we might look at a client’s educational background, their work experience and maybe even their life experience. You might look at their technology know-how or past experiences with designing brands or copywriting. We might look at what their goals are. Evaluating the client’s skillset and background helps us see if they really have what it takes to launch out their own coaching or consulting business.
Look at your ideal client right now and start to brainstorm some real life circumstances that are really important for you when you make your ideal client checklist.
Of course, as a coach, you want to work with people who have the financial resources to invest in your program. But it’s even more important that your clients have the ability to invest in not only in you as a coach, but in themselves and all the other things they need to launch out their business – like systems, advertising costs, and eventually support staff, etc. So assess your client’s financial situation and their status to make sure they are really ideal for you.
It’s also important to assess how much time your client has available to dedicate to your program and working with you in order to ensure they get the results they’re looking for. Your client might be working full time, maybe they’re a parent, they might even be retired or staying at home. All these things will give them either a lot of time to dedicate to it or very little time. So really look at all of these different factors in your client’s life to make sure that they have everything you’re looking for to get the best possible results.
Your client’s mindset and what they’re thinking is just as important as their life situation. There are definitely some specific mindset traits we’ve identified that are good predictors of how successful our clients will be in our course. They’re SO important, that we actually go as far as to talk about these right on the discovery call to make sure both parties are clear on the expectations!
Action oriented. We want people that are going to set a goal and move toward that goal as they progress in the program.
Committed. They’re willing to do whatever it takes to get to a goal.
Decisive. We want people that are going to be able to make a decision and stick with it. If you’re in between and you’re waffling, not only is it a horrible place to be, but it will take you a lot longer to get to goals in your business.
Coachable. It’s important for somebody to be able to take advice and take it well. You don’t want people that think they already know everything, because then what are they here for, right? As coaches, we’re here so our clients can stand on our shoulders and we can guide them to that end result that they want to achieve! (That’s why we do what we do – isn’t it?)
Positive. We also of course, want to work with people that have a positive outlook and that are overall just good people.
Take personal responsibility. We also really want to work with people who understand that their success is their personal responsibility and nobody else’s. The coach and client relationship is always 100% by each party. We’ll do everything that we can to teach them our system, but they also have to understand that it’s not a guaranteed outcome and that they actually need to show up daily and do the work.
Growth mindset. Finally, it’s also really important that we have people are open to changing themselves, having big transformations, and to growing in the program. People that are fixed, stable, and just want to be in one place forever need not apply.
In addition to your client’s life circumstances and their mindset, you want to get on the same page when it comes to their goals and their expectations on you as their coach or consultant. When it comes to goals, really think about what you can confidently promise or help your clients accomplish. You will not ever guarantee a specific result or a specific goal because you’re working with people with free will and not robots. Human beings, or course, have strengths and weaknesses and a myriad of factors that you can’t control. So you want to ask yourself, “What am I confident in accomplishing for my clients without making a guarantee?” Those are your client’s goals.
The last criteria you really need to get clear on is your client’s expectations for you as a coach. Consider:
How much coaching you will provide to the clients or how many one to one sessions will you provide?
How long are those sessions?
How many emails will you answer?
What are your business hours?
What’s the expected turnaround for a reply?
All of these details are important so that your client is not disappointed if they’re not receiving what they expected in the beginning. To keep everyone on the same page, it’s a good idea for you to create a list of these coaching features inside of your client agreement so that, right from the start, your client knows exactly what to expect.
Your Next Steps
Create your ideal client checklist. Need some help? We want to make this whole process really super simple for you, so we want to give you our Ideal Client Checklist. Our own coaching clients are using this checklist to profile their ideal clients, and this checklist will give you a long list of different criteria that you can apply to your ideal client.
Communicate these expectations clearly to your team when you’re training them, as far as what to say on calls and to know what to look for on those calls as well.
Build it into your sales script as well. So once you’ve communicated to your sales team what they should look for, go as far as to actually spell that out in your syntax so it flows effortlessly through the course of the sales conversation.
Communicate this in your marketing. For example, your webinar is a perfect place to say “This is for you if…” and “This is not for you if…” This way, the clients are helping by identifying themselves in the process and deciding that they want to build a relationship and work with you.
I’m curious – how has it gone when you’ve worked with ideal clients and not so ideal clients? Leave me a comment below and let me know! Now do yourself a favor, and really clearly identify those ideal clients so that you get to enjoy the work you do every single day and your clients get amazing results.
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