Admit it. You work pretty hard to find new clients.

You network, advertise and (gasp!) maybe even cold-call.

Sometimes you feel like a hamster on a wheel: going nowhere fast.

It’s hard enough to run a small business. You’ve got to take good care of your existing customers, manage the money, figure out the technology, set the goals and then…what?! You have to do the marketing and sales, too?

There doesn’t seem to be enough time in the day to get it all done, right? (Believe me, I feel your pain.)

Wouldn’t you love to have those new clients seek YOU out, instead?

Guess what?

They already are. 

Every day, thousands of people are searching for just the right person with just the right answer to their big problem.

They’re asking their friends, family and colleagues for a referral. Or they’re wearing out the Google button on their computers, looking for someone just like you.

So why aren’t you connecting with them?

Probably because you aren’t telling the right story, using the right words, or just plain BEing your most fabulous self.

If you want to attract your ideal customer, you need to know that person inside-and-out.

You also need to really know your self.

Here’s an important question to ask: What kind of customers am I attracted to working with? 

What kind of clients and projects give you the most joy? What causes, missions, hobbies, passions do they have? What makes them want to get out of bed in the morning?

One of the mistakes I see a lot of folks make is choosing a particular target market or niche only because they think it 1) will make them a lot of money; or 2) is what they have experience in so it must be right. (These considerations should be the icing on the cake, not the cake itself.)

So here’s your assignment*:

Think about one or two customers you’ve had in the past that you really enjoyed working with. Got that mental picture? Good.

Now, make a list of all of their personality characteristics and qualities.  This could be things like:

  • How they like to make decisions
  • How risk-averse or friendly they are
  • How comfortable they are with technology
The idea is to write down as much as you possibly can. Aim for at least 100 items on this list. Keep writing until you feel like you’ve exhausted what you know.
snowflake cookies

Every business is unique — don’t try to hide it!

Next, add to the list things like:

  • What they do in their spare time
  • Who they hang out with (clubs, churches, organizations, etc.)
  • What kind of job they have
  • What causes they’re passionate about

Include as much detail as you can. (This should be easy since you’re thinking about actual people.)

We’ll call this list your ideal customer profile (aka ‘the persona‘).

Okay – now for the fun part. Go back through the list and make a check mark next to every item that you feel also describes YOU.

What did you find?

Do you have a lot in common with this ideal customer?

My money is on YES.

Mostly because it’s a well known fact, that people like to do with business with people they like. And people usually like other people who are a lot like them. (And all that ‘liking’ has nothing to do with Facebook, but it IS a crucial component to nailing your marketing.)

Now for the tricky part.

Quit trying to please everyone.

Yep. You heard me.

I’m a big people pleaser myself, but I can tell you that there’s a bazillion pieces of evidence out there (some even documented by scientists) to show that it’s just not possible.

We’re all different. It’s what makes the world go ’round. Embrace that fact and you’ll be on your way to Marketing Heaven in no time.

Everybody always thinks their products and services would be great for everyone. That everyone could use them. Benefit from owning them.

But the reality is, we all want different stuff.

And since you will totally fail if you try to please everyone on the planet, you need to just give that up and work on being exactly who you are.

Dig a little deeper. WHO are you? What stuff do you love to do in YOUR spare time? What are you passionate about? What would you do with yourself if you didn’t have to earn a living?

Those answers are clues.

Clues to creating a brand for your small business that reflects your heart and soul.

And for creating a brand that will attract exactly the right customers.

When you get specific like that, your messages get really clear. And clarity (as we all know) is power.

Clarity allows you to focus. Which, in turn, helps you communicate in a more confident way.

Your ideal customer is then better able to find you and connect. Your messages are literally music to their ears.

This doesn’t mean you stop marketing.

It just means you don’t have to work so hard.

Make yourself visible, yes. Network, yes. But do it in the right places, and at the right times: where ever (and whenever) your ideal customers are.

If your ideal customers don’t do Facebook, then guess what? You don’t need to, either.

And if they prefer to connect offline in the real world, then that’s where you should be.

Make it easy for them to find you, and they will.

And make yourself as attractive to them as possible.

If you do, you can spend more time working with them as a customer, than chasing them down as a prospect.

*I first learned about this exercise from the book, “Attracting Perfect Customers.” It’s a great read!


This post is part of the September Word (blog) Carnival on Finding and Working with Your Ideal CustomersClick here to read more fabulous advice on the topic. Then join us for a Twitter Chat on Thursday from 4 to 5 p.m., Pacific. You’ll find the carnies tweeting with #WordCarnival.







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