If you’ve been in business long enough, then you should be creating a pretty descriptive mental picture of the best possible client to walk in your door. Perhaps you’ve even begun to do this automatically after having the experience of working with different customers. The more you get to know this ideal customer profile, and the more you understand this customer’s characteristic wants and needs, the closer you’ll be to attracting these very people or companies to your business and the less time you’ll spend on unfruitful leads.

Defining Your Ideal Prospects

handshakeMany business owners confuse their ideal customer with their target market. If you assume that everyone will fit your profile perfectly then be prepared to be sorely disappointed. The reality is that your that your targeted customer base will probably include a small spectrum of current and potential buyers, and within this spectrum, some customers will just be better than others.

So how do you make sure that the best potential customers are in your marketing cross-hairs. Consider the steps below:

1. First, understand the real value of your product or service. What specific value are you providing your clients? Even if you’re a service provider and don’t have an actual product per se, know exactly what you’re selling and think of it as you would a product.

2. Now, determine why your buyers would need it. What does your product or service do for them? How does it help them? What will they be left with?

3. Understand who is most in need of your product or service. This will be easier to answer once you know the answers to the first points. If you know the true value (or benefit) of your products or services you’ll have a better idea of who to target.

4. Targeting your potential customers. Now that you have a good idea of the who and what, you can create an effective system for targeting those prospects. Target marketing is following a specific structured process focused on a particular group of prospects. To be effective you have to narrow the field of prospective clients. Select a segment of your market to focus on first.

5. Create a clear vision of your ideal client. You still have to break it down further. This includes asking yourself questions such as:  What’s your clients’ ability to make the decision to buy, as well as their ability to pay for your product?  Where are they located geographically? Is the time you will spend with them equal to or less than the revenue you will realize? These four points are important to know before you start your sales and marketing. Having this knowledge when you approach the actual sales process will help you qualify your leads and prospects even better.

When you do this work from the beginning you avoid spending time with people who are never going to become clients. You will feel less frustration, because you’ll close more sales from true qualified leads than you will from randomly approaching the world at large. Not all customers are created equal, so don’t approach them that way.