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Identify Your Ideal Clients and How To Reach Them

Aug 17, 2007
If you expect to succeed as a professional solution provider - coach, consultant, etc., you first have to last. Just last long enough and you'll be the only person who got started when you did, who is still around.

After all, 80-90% of the folks who got into coaching or insurance or whatever when you did, will fail and leave the business and it will all be yours.

So while you are busy outlasting the others - there is one thing you must do if you want to ever develop a sustainable business.

You have to identify a client type for whom you are ideally suited. And it is not a complicated process!

There are two most likely causes of failure - before you last long enough to convince the world of your brilliance. Ironically these two issues are also the two keys to your ultimate success.

The first is a lack of capital. You run out of money before you generate regular revenues sufficient to support yourself.

And since most people have limited savings, it is the lack of an income stream that causes the greatest trouble for most people. So, don't quit your day job - too soon.

Instead, figure out what is leveragable about the job or profession you already have. What is relevant to the development of your target audience. Use this as an opportunity to develop a teachable point of view - and generate current revenues while you build the framework of your marketing.

A friend of mine was a successful chef for over ten years. But he was tired of the long hours away from his family, no time for vacations and when everybody was relaxing during the holidays, he was working harder than ever.

He loved the restaurant business, he had learned a lot - knew successful chefs all over the country and was respected by purveyors throughout the industry.

While he still put in a full schedule at the restaurant he became a well trained business coach. And for 18 months he coached restaurant supply companies who were challenged when it came to dealing with their customers, mostly chefs.

By the time he hung up his apron for good and opened his coaching business formally - he had food service industry clients in several states.

I've heard dozens and dozens of struggling professionals complain that they have not been able to find their niche - as if it required a magic wand.

Finding your niche is a two fold process one of which I will address here. The other part, creating a benefit statement around what valuable service - something people will pay for, will be in the article entitles, Develop Your Benefit Statement and Enlist a Cadre of Fans to Promote You, which is posted on our web site.

Here are a couple of suggestions to help you identify for yourself who your ideal prospects are.

Leverage your past. Like my friend the chef, who built a business around the elements of his past profession that he had the greatest proficiency in and the part he enjoyed the most. All the stuff he loved but with none of the long hours. On holidays he is a customer instead.

What was the most enjoyable part of what you were doing before you started doing what you are doing now? You know the industry, you know who the players are, and you know the problems and opportunities faced by your previous contemporaries.

Plus you know the political landscape, who's friends with whom etc. I know a Dentist who is now a consultant specializing in practice development for Dentists. I know a pharmacist who is a insurance professional specializing with retail pharmacies. You get the idea.

Leveraging your past can be a natural way to focus your practice and become the go-to person in your industry.

Another idea - monitize your passion.

I know a very successful business coach who is a nut for vintage sports cars. He has one that he brings out of the garage only on sunny weekends. When he isn't at a vintage sports car rally he is sitting at a sidewalk cafe on Amsterdam Ave. in New York City - happily basking in the glow of his vintage MG TD sitting at the curb.

He loves to hang out at the car shows, talking with owners of restorers and body shop owners who specialize in vintage sports cars. He has created quite a niche since there are several thousand such companies across the US and they all seem to know or know of each other.

He has spoken (the first non-industry speaker) at their trade association and has helped business owners find buyers for their companies at no charge - he knows everybody.

He owns his niche, monitizing his passion for vintage sports cars. He regularly visits clubs in a 100 mile radius of his home (nice networking with the top down), attends meets, contributes articles to their magazines, and knows the landscape better than any of his competitors ever will.

What are you passionate about? I am sure there is an association or professional society of them. If you don't believe me go to the library and check out the Gales Encyclopedia of Associations.

You could limit your practice to one single niche, you'd become the expert, the insider - you'd have all the business you could handle.

That is if you can demonstrate that you understand their unique challenges and articulate the bankable benefits they can expect from your services.

There is another benefit of identifying your niche. All of your friends and relatives will be relieved. In fact if you told them that you specialize in say, restaurant owners with multiple locations, they will hit the streets drumming up business for you.

They will be relieved, no sales pitch, and they will begin to find prospects for you, tell you about their restaurant owner friends and tell them about you.

Let them know what you do, describe your value proposition, your benefit statement. They will become your raving fan club.

Their recommendations - based on their credibility, their prestige, and their lack of financial connection, will be a powerful force in driving business your way.

It may not cause the phone to start ringing off the wall but it will turn a universe of cold calls into warm receptions - when you cross paths with these ideal prospects.

These prestige recommendations - people who will see you become someone they respect has asked them to, will put you in the frame when they are ready to buy the services you offer.

So, first identify the types of folks you want to specialize in - do business with.

Don't worry about whether of not they need your services today. Take my word for it - they do, if not now tomorrow - whether they know it or not.

No matter the niche, no matter your profession - they will need your services directly or indirectly.

Directly - they have a problem and need your help.

Indirectly - they have a friend like them who has issues you are uniquely equipped to address.

Determining your special niche is one of the most important things you can do. Make the decision based on who you are and who you want to be proud to have helped, when you look back on this in ten years.
About the Author
Wayne Messick is sharing the secrets of his success, well over two decades helping business owners position themselves for the future. Here are his legacy of transferable ideas and strategies.
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