Last week I outlined the steps to identifying your ideal clients and customers so you can focus your marketing efforts on them to grow your business more efficiently.
Today, I will outline two examples of ideal client profiles in an effort to provide a more concrete representation of the ideal client perspective.
To summarize, developing an ideal client profile benefits your business for many reasons:
- The more ideal clients you work with, the more profitable you will be and the more you will enjoy your work on a daily basis.
- Knowing your ideal client profile makes your marketing easier and more cost-effective.
- Once you identify your ideal clients, you can easily make a plan to find more of them.
- You can craft all of your offers to deliver the right solutions to your ideal clients.
- You will be able to get to know your ideal clients more intimately and develop better solutions to solve their problems.
- Defining your ideal client profile also informs you whom you do not want to work with.
In general, the exercise of identifying your ideal clients is you as a business owner being intentional about your business – about getting clear on your business goals and developing a road map to help you achieve those goals.
Perhaps the most poignant point above is the last one. Because our limiting factor is often time, every time we work with a less-than-ideal client, we hinder our own growth, because that is time we could have spent attracting or working with an ideal client. And ideal clients are more enjoyable to work with and also add more value to our businesses.
Example 1 – Frank the Builder
Frank is a custom home builder in a wealthy suburb in Connecticut. He has been in business in the area for 15 years. He has a small crew of his own guys and a reliable network of quality subcontractors. Because he has gotten used to a certain lifestyle and he likes to pay his own employees well, Frank’s goal is to make $1 Million in profit for his business (before he pays his employees and himself) every year. And because he has a small crew, he is not able to take on too many projects in a given year. So he has determined that, in an ideal world, his company will build 10 homes per year that kick off at least $100,000 each to his business. Based on profit margins and subcontractor costs, Frank knows that homes that cost $800,000 and up will provide the $100,000 that he needs. Further, since he has a small crew and since he doesn’t like to waste time in Connecticut traffic, Frank chooses not to travel more than 25 miles from his home.
Given those factors, Frank can identify his ideal client profile as home owners within 25 miles of his home in Connecticut who are looking to build custom homes with a price tag of at least $800,000. Frank knows that if he is able to get 10 jobs like this every year, he will reach his goal of $1 M. Frank also knows that, because his time and manpower are limited, every time he accepts a job that is too far away from his home or is under the $800K threshold, he is jeopardizing his chances of reaching his goal. For every $400K home he builds, he’s passing up the opportunity to build an $800K home. Frank has to be ruthless about satisfying these criteria if he wants to continue to enjoy his lifestyle, pay his team well, and continue to grow his business.
Example #2 – Erik the Construction Manager
Erik owns a small construction management firm that works with retail companies when they redesign and rebuild their stores. Because Erik’s first career was in commercial real estate brokerage, and retail and strip malls specifically, he has a strong base of knowledge in this particular industry. So his company specializes in retail shops and he aims to be THE go-to CM firm in his state for retail construction projects. Erik is smart and realizes that he can successfully grow a business in which he specializes in one thing, rather than trying provide CM services for every type of building. So there’s his first criterion – he will seek to work only with independent retail stores. But he needs to get more specific than this. He knows from experience that when a retail store wants to get started with their project, the first call they make is to an architect to consult with them and design a new store for them. So architects are the first point of contact for his ideal client projects. Erik knows that there’s no way he can market to every independent retail store owner in his state. It would be overwhelming, draining, and very expensive – and not very productive. So he makes a plan to market his firm to architects in his state who tend to work on such projects. There are only about 50 architects who fall into this category. He knows that he can successfully educate most of these architects on the benefits of working with a CM firm like his early in the project development stage.
The benefits to the architects include better control of the project construction schedule, improved integration between design and construction, and daily on-site representation by the architect, which result in tremendous cost savings for the retail store and increased profitability for the architect. Now that Erik has established his ideal client profile – architects in his state who work with independent retail stores for projects in the range of $XX,XXX – $XXX,XXX – he can develop a strategic marketing campaign to build relationships with those architects instead of trying to advertise and get the attention of store owners.
I hope you’re beginning to see how developing an ideal client profile can be a game-changer for your business, especially if you’re limited by time, money, or personnel. The examples are simple by design, but the point should be clear.
One of the best aspects about this sort of thing is that, once you start being intentional about whom you market to, you’re immediately ahead of 98% of your competition. Very few contractors are thinking this way about their businesses – they’re too busy working IN their businesses to spend the proper time to work ON their businesses like this.
This exercise can be applied to any type of business, not just construction. For example, Pepsi’s #1 target market is teenage girls. Why? Pepsi knows that most of these teenage girls will grow up to become wives and mothers and will eventually be doing the grocery shopping for the household. So they create loyal Pepsi customers at an early age. Of course they are a very large company and thus have multiple ideal client profiles; this is just an example of one of them.
ACTION: Spend 30 minutes this week to think about your business goals and your true ideal clients. Review what has worked best in the past, think about what types of projects where you can add the most value, that are the most profitable, and that you enjoy the most.
In the next post, we’ll get into some ways of marketing to these ideal clients.
Contact us if you have any questions.