Last Updated on May 8, 2023 by Dave Schoenbeck
Project-based businesses like marketing agencies and contractors depend on winning bids and delivering long-term projects for their clients. As a result, these businesses can easily fall into the trap of settling for imperfect clients to keep the revenue flowing. However, failing to identify your ideal client in these situations can decrease your income overall.
When we accept these marginal projects, we limit our availability and even turndown projects from our ideal clients because we have too much on our plate. It takes courage, optimism, and massive activity to fill the pipeline with quality work, but it’s ultimately worth it. The first step is learning to qualify your ideal client, so you’ll know them when you see them.
How to Identify Your Ideal Customer
Why is it important to identify your ideal client? The truth is not every client is created equal. The ideal client values your work and aligns with your mission and business goals. This client will respect your time and happily pay a higher rate for work that specifically addresses their needs. Other clients can end up requiring more work for less reward.
The key is to discover these ideal clients, and you can do that by qualifying your prospects. Qualifying prospects will look slightly different depending on your business, but certain things will remain the same. Here is the ideal customer qualification process:
- Get specific. Who exactly is your target audience right now? If the answer is “anyone with money to spend,” think again. If you cast too wide a net, you’ll waste time with customers with the wrong idea about your business or what you offer. Instead, you need to narrow your focus to the customers that will be most profitable.
- Look at your current customers. Who tends to buy what, and when? Are the right people finding your company, or must you change how you market yourself? Do you have a lot of “difficult” clients? Who do they tend to be? And on the other hand, what do your most accessible clients have in common?
- Consider your strengths. Is there a particular industry you serve best or a specific subset of your services that you excel at? This might not be the bulk of your clients, and that’s okay. Figure out who would benefit the most from what you’re selling, then look to target those people specifically.
- Finally, ask yourself who your dream customer would be. What would happen if the entire process was perfect from start to finish? What would it look like to knock a project out of the water? What kind of client should you target to make that possible for you?
Learning to identify your ideal client will help you land better projects and bring in more income for your project-based business. A business coach can help. So please fill out my contact form and join me for a complimentary video call to learn how to qualify your ideal client.
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