When I ask people who their ideal client is, I often get answers like, “I serve a lot of different people/companies/industries.”
That’s fine, but I wasn’t asking who you could conceivably serve– your Possible Client Profile (PCP, which is a dangerous thing). I was asking about your Ideal Client Profile.
It’s perfectly fine to not know your ICP (although that’s a sign that you need to work on it). Especially if you’re an independent consultant, saying, “I’m a business coach that helps businesses of all sizes with many business problems” or, “I’m a web designer that works on all kinds of different websites” may be true, but it is not helpful for you. Rather than making your potential range of introductions bigger, it makes you unreferable, except by your closest friends.
Sometimes people distill it down to 2 choices. For example, I was talking to someone recently who said her ideal client was the CEO of either a startup or a family run business. Those are 2 different profiles. Which one is ideal?
At first she said startups. But something didn’t seem right. I asked her about her favorite client…
As an aside, if you read this column, you’ve probably heard me rant about M.E.G.A. Positioning. The ‘E’ is for “easy”– when we are tempted to try to diffuse our focus, remember that unless we have completely served our niche, we don’t care about big versus small markets (even the “small” market is probably way more than we can handle), we care about “easy vs hard”.
This is really helpful for me, because I don’t like sales and marketing, so I want my positioning to do most of the work for me. 😉
But “E” could also stand for “energy”. Notice the shifts in your energy when you talk about your favorite client, versus good clients vs. “meh” clients vs terrible clients.
That feeling, that energy we get when we work with our favorite clients… why wouldn’t we want to have that all (or at least most) of the time?
When she started talking about a recent client, her whole tone shifted. There was excitement and joy, not just someone responding to a “Bueller, Bueller” prompt.
What is it about that client that provides that spark?
Is it personal qualities? The client’s mission? The money? The challenge? The respect? Some combination of the above.
If you’re having trouble picking between different niches, think about the energy you feel– it’s your gut telling you something.
Want to work on your position? Join me for a free webinar on using Positioning as a Lever to Make Everything Easier on April 20.