Who Is Your Ideal Client?

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I’m in the middle of a group coaching program called Book Yourself Solid where we are taking ourselves through a complete business development program to really get to the core of what we are trying to do on this crazy planet. Here’s my essay about my ideal client… I’m gonna be blogging this on my personal blog in case I err on the ranty side.

I think about when I’m directing a play and how I might be nervous before rehearsal start but once we begin I am totally in the zone. I may not know all the answers but my intuition is fully engaged and I know that answers will come. I usually can’t sit when I’m directing because I’m too engaged. I usually take my shoes off to think better too. It is that feeling I want.

List the qualities you’d like your ideal clients to possess:

  • Hilarious, warm, playful, self-starting, punctural, captivated by technology, dedicated, gracious, class acts, deeply human and quirky.
  • See creativity as a vital force in their life and business – or want to bring it out further.
  • Visionary: they have huge-huge-huge visions for themselves and the world around them. They take their ideas seriously but not themselves too seriously.
  • Intense integrity and compassion.
  • Commitment to truthtelling and grilling sacred cows.
  • Lifelong learners and see education as the bridge to their next success.
  • Focus on virtuosity – commanding their craft for the sake of knowing all they can about it.
  • See their work/life as a deeper ministry. Maybe not religious – but spiritual.
  • Not afraid to talk fruity/New Age/granola.

Clients I love:

Pat Gundry, Bea Fields, Michael Port, Tara Katchaturoff, Eric Schneider, Maryam Webster, Barb Elgin, Ben Graham, Nancy Tierney, Des Walsh, Sandee Abhern, Elder Bob, Andrea J. Lee, Tina Forsyth, most of the folks from the Product Factory and probably many of the folks in BYS! It is funny: I discount these ideal clients because they are some of my biggest fans – I discount their kudos and appreciation as ‘they are just being nice’ – instead of ‘I deliver fantastic results and these folks truly appreciate the work that I do.’ These are people that I wish lived next door and I could just knock on their door and say ‘Hey, you need any help?’

The reasons I love working with them:

I’ve often called these people ‘professional crushes’. I get warm fuzzies – both emotional, professional and intellectual. I *love* when these folks show up on my calls and feel like ‘we’re home’. Like when Des calls in from Australia I always feel an extra glow because I know I’m reaching outside the continent – or Krishna. These are people who aren’t afraid to try out divergent thinking or ideas or give a new technology a whirl and explore how it might be used. They are all over the world and have such diverse backgrounds – I don’t think I’d be exposed to such a diverse group of people if I had a conventional ‘local’ job (though the ‘local’ thing I *have* to get engaged).

What qualities would they absolutely NEED to possess in order for you to do your BEST work with them?

  • A huge massive vision for a greater world around them. I have too long associated small business with small thinking. I want to work with lifechangers. Hell, worldchangers.
  • Follow-through: People that do what they say they are going to do. Who actually read the documentation I slave away writing for them (some hungry kids in China don’t even get documentation!).
  • Virtuosos: I have to work with people that work on their craft – that constantly hone their skills and expand their range.
  • Playfulness: Not childish – but childlike. Sense of humor is mandatory. Bonus points for gallows humour or caustic wit.
  • Brass tacks: People that aren’t afraid of the ‘grunt work’ or the rigor that might have to happen before the results arrive.
  • Grounded: I’m all for fruity-thinking but they have to have their feet on the ground. If they ignore basic principles of business over fluffy feel-good’ bliss-ninnies they are gone.

Filters:

  • I end the call with a buzz and can’t sleep for a few hours.
  • My clients are entertainers – using story and spectacle to get their points across.
  • My clients are rebellious against the fossilized assumptions of their industry.
  • My clients are great communicators, utilizing multiple channels to keep in touch with people.
  • My clients fully value my advice, whether or not they take it.
  • My clients are fully accountable for their results. I’m no magician.
  • My clients have broad networks of colleagues and collaborators to assist them in executing their plans.
  • My clients see their business as an extension of their lives and vice versa.

Client turn offs:

  • Whining.
  • Lack of trust.
  • Not writing a damned thing that I say down. Not taking my advice (with no reason not to).
  • Cheap. Think that ‘for charity’ means they get my stuff for free. That because they have no money that that is my problem.
  • Seduced by idiot marketing strategies.
  • Disrespect my time.
  • Asking the same question repeatedly as if I’m holding back.
  • Bigots. Blamers. Victims. Addicts. Rescuers. Nutcases. Fruitcakes.
  • Can’t get to the point.
  • Suck my energy up.
  • Cause me to check my inbox while I’m talking with them.
  • Inattentive. (savor that irony)
  • Cause involuntary fist making or finger tapping.
  • Talk to me while they are on speaker phone.
  • Humorless.
  • Pessimistic.
  • Scared of their own computer. Don’t know what a browser is. Think IE is a war cry (Internet Explorer).
  • Want complete flexibility but don’t want to learn any technical skill.
  • Balk at contracts or invoices.
  • Pretentious. Not respecting when I say ‘No’.
  • Crisis after crisis that is somehow my problem.
  • Make me turn to my cat when I hang up and say SWEET GOD WHAT IS WRONG WITH THEM.
  • Oh and slow-walkers and low-talkers, of course.

How have I contributed to less than ideal clients:

I said yes. I got myself to a financial point of needing the money more than the business. I discounted the effort required to teach someone something. I ignored warning signs. I wasn’t super-clear with the results being achieved. I undercharged. I undervalued myself and my services.

I’ll be blogging my process with this program so stay tuned! 

6 thoughts on “Who Is Your Ideal Client?

  1. Jef

    It’s interesting that you should blog about this because I have been giving it a lot of thought over the past month.

  2. Cheryl

    I enjoy reading your thoughts here. I have been thinking about many of the same things, though the end result is that I decided to go back where I started.

  3. Nancy Tierney

    I’m wildly flattered to be on your list of clients you love since I’m so in love with you.
    But I’m also really impressed by the depth to which you dug in order to be so clear about who your ideal client is and isn’t. This is inspirational work, Andy.
    And a great testimony to Michael Port’s class.

  4. Joan Schramm

    Andy —

    I loved reading about your Ideal Client. It sent me back to my BYS homework from Michael’s last class and I found that a lot of the characteristics you listed in your Ideal Clients were also on my list. I especially hate whiners — poor me, life sucks, the world’s against me, yadda, yadda, yadda. Who needs it?

    I’m looking forward to reading more about your BYS experiences!

    Joan

  5. Angela

    what an absolutely awesome, inspiring, totally STEALABLE list of want-my-own-clients-to-be! what a service you have done here for the rest of us! I love the “fluffy feel-good’ bliss-ninnies” – god you crack me up! Thanks, andy

    Angela

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