Every small business owner I know wants to attract the right clients to their work. Today we’re talking about the common reasons people struggle to do this and what to do instead.
We’ll outline the qualities of your right-fit clients. And talk through actionable tips for attracting them through your offer, through your marketing strategy, and through boldly sharing your values. Let’s dive in.
#1: You adore them and they adore you.
First and foremost, let’s establish that you are allowed to be selective about who you serve through your work. Not surprisingly, there is a real correlation between burnout and working with the wrong fit clients.
Just like in friendships and romantic relationships, when incompatibility exists between small business owners and their clients, it leads to friction.
On the contrary, when you work solely with the right clients, both your revenue and the level of ease in your day will reflect it.
I’m not going to tell you to do a long and tedious ideal client exercise where you create an avatar and decide everything from your clients’ favorite TV show to their first dog’s name during childhood. I find these wildly unhelpful for most people. They also don’t help you to solve your client’s problem as it pertains to your offer.
My recommendation for knowing what kind of person you want to work with is to get crystal clear on your values and speak about them frequently. Plaster them on your website. Write about them in your content marketing and mention them in your sales process. Don’t shut up about your values.
When your values are front and center, the right people want to be closer to you and the wrong ones will fall away.
#2: They practice personal responsibility.
If you ask any of my clients what I talk about most, they’d likely tell you one of two things. The first is that your business is meant to support your life and not the other way around. The second is that the key to success in life and business is taking radical personal responsibility for the outcomes we create.
Radical personal responsibility is the #1 requirement for working with me. I recommend it be yours too, and here’s why.
If someone does not believe they are responsible for their own outcomes, they will blame others when things don’t go their way.
For example, let’s say you’re a nutritionist and one of your clients suffers from IBS triggered by specific foods.
She attends sessions with you twice a month and has access to a library of online resources for exactly how to heal her gut health according to her unique circumstances.
Now, here’s the rub. Recently she’s experienced some distracting problems in her personal life and she hasn’t implemented the things you teach. She makes no changes to her diet, eliminates none of her trigger foods and overall doesn’t do the work.
Listen, it happens. Your clients are human beings having a human experience.
This is why personal responsibility is so important, though.
If this person practices radical personal responsibility, she will acknowledge that her lack of results are because she did not prioritize her gut health or implement using the resources you provide.
On the other hand, if she does NOT practice personal responsibility, she’s likely to blame you for her lack of results.
In both scenarios, you did your part. You provided what you promised and you showed up for your client.
You cannot make clients do their part and sometimes life happens in ways that stall their progress.
The good news is that when you speak of the importance of personal responsibility with potential clients, you will attract the people who align with this. Moreover, people who want a silver bullet and don’t want to do the work will be repelled.
After spending nearly 15 years as a business strategist in corporate and my own company, the most effective way I have found to ensure clients take personal responsibility for their own outcomes is to clearly tell them it is required.
At the end of the day, directly stating what you expect of your clients will attract the right ones, repel the wrong ones and increase your clients’ results since the ones who work with you are there for the right reasons.
#3: They badly want what you have to offer.
Ultimately, if you want your clients to get great results, to become loyal fans of your work, and to send referrals your way, you want to work with the people who most need what you have to offer.
To do this means getting crystal clear on the most pressing and immediate problem you solve through your offer and speaking directly to the people who badly want to solve that problem.
A lot of times, when small business owners tell me they’re struggling to attract the right clients, the problem isn’t happening in their marketing and sales. It’s happening earlier. More often than not, it’s an offer problem.
On the other hand, when you get crystal clear on the singular problem you’re solving, the marketing piece becomes much easier.
Now, the first thing folks often say here is, “my offer solves many problems.”
I hear you, and you can solve tons of problems for your clients.
With that said, if you want to magnetize the right people to that offer, you need to hone in on the problem they most want to solve right now.
For example, a client of mine provides a mentorship program for professionals in the entertainment industry. She helps her clients with everything from branding themselves, to booking gigs, to developing confidence, to adopting wellness practices for challenges in their unique line of work and much more.
However, when she talks about this offer, she talks about standing out to book more gigs.
Because that is the most pressing, most top of mind problem her clients want to solve and the one they want immediately.
This is how I want you to think about your offer and the problem you solve.
You’ll still give them the full solution they need, but they will come to you for the thing they want right now.
When you hone in on what they want most and what they want fastest, attracting the right clients to your work becomes second nature. They want your solution and they want it now.
Let these shifts be easy.
Whether you’re missing just one piece of the puzzle or all three, know that it doesn’t take long to make these shifts in order to attract the right clients. Implement them one at a time and before you know it you will see a total shift on your satisfaction in your business, the quality of your client relationships, and on your bottom line.
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Jackie is an Author, Speaker, CEO, Certified Business Coach and former Fortune 500 and Inc 500 Entertainment Executive.
After hitting severe burnout from years of overworking in high-stress environments, Jackie vowed to slow down and started her own consulting company in 2019. She quickly realized that the same cycle of overwhelm and burnout she experienced in her corporate career is what a lot of women fall into even in their own businesses. These days, Jackie helps Service-Based Entrepreneurs employ smart strategies to grow businesses without the overwhelm through her Education and Coaching Program, Full Circle Freedom™.
In her column on Women’s Business Daily, Jackie draws on her own journey along with the countless lessons she’s learned helping clients transform their work into businesses that put their quality of life first.
Learn more about Jackie’s work and gain access to educational resources at JackiePrutsman.com.