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Target Marketing: Can You Spot an Ideal Client?

Imagine there are 100 potential prospects for your business in a room and you could select only 3 of them to become clients. Do you know the questions you would ask to identify the ideal 3?

This question is posed as part of our quiz.  We often ask this question when helping business owner-operators plan their marketing strategy.  Their response is often preceded by a long pause.  Just when you thought you knew everything about your clients, it appears there’s more to know.

Potential Clients

A potential client is anyone who might possibly buy your product or service. For example, a recruitment business may define a potential client as "any business that needs a temp", or a tea manufacturer may say "anyone who drinks tea".

In both of these examples the definition of "potential clients" is correct.  However, it provides a shaky foundation for your marketing strategy.  You need to push your thinking further.

Become a Sea Eagle

Sea eagles are very savvy birds. Essentially any fish in the sea is a potential meal for them yet they don't dive after every fish they see. Why not? They know there is a limit to their energy and resources so they need to wisely pick out fish that will maximise the return on the energy expended during the catch. White bait is too small and marlin are too big.

Small and medium businesses also have limited resources.  Are you going to wildly dive after every opportunity you see or wisely select those catches that have a good return?  If your limited marketing budget is going to deliver results, you need to focus all of your activities on your ideal clients.

Ideal Clients

Ideal clients are a subset of your potential clients. Ideal clients are those prospects who will provide you with the maximum return on your marketing investment. The challenge is to establish some specific and observable criteria to clearly separate your potential and ideal clients.  Here are some working examples to get you thinking.

Recruitment firm:
Potential clients - "any business that needs a temp"
Ideal clients - Located within 5 km radius, has an ongoing requirement for at least 3 temps, is adding at least 5 new staff each year, professional services industry

Tea Manufacturer:
Potential clients - "anyone who drinks tea"
Ideal clients - cash rich DINK's, inner city, socially / environmentally conscious, middle / upper management

Can you see how you could walk into a room of 100 people and ask specific questions about these criteria to identify your ideal clients? Another interesting exercise is to ask everyone on your team the question that we have posed and see what answers they come back with.  It will tell you very quickly if you need to upskill and train your team to become more effective at spotting sales opportunities.

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