An Exercise to Define Your Ideal Client
Whether you are just starting your coaching practice or you have been at it for a long time - knowing your ideal client is so very important.

Written By Gary Reinecke

ICF Master Certified Coach, Resource Designer, Mission Strategist : InFocus
Your ideal client is the person or organization that you are most equipped to meet their needs. It is the person you are thinking of as you build your business, write articles, and create resources. It is the working relationship that will be mutually beneficial with results that really matter. Clearly identifying your ideal client helps you…

  • empathize with your clients needs and challenges
  • clarify who your clients aren’t
  • attract the right clients 
  • communicate with a specific audience in mind
  • design your marketing strategy/funnel – Read more here

Five steps to identify your Ideal Client

ideal client exercise

1. PRAY to discern the kind of person God wants you to coach

Ask God to expose or illuminate the kind of person He has uniquely wired you to coach.

One of the most important questions to ask God is: “Who are the kinds of people you are inviting me to coach?”  This conversation with your heavenly Father might lead you into areas you are unaware of, ignored, or have become blind to – for a number of legitimate reasons.  Slow down.  Don’t hurry into the next step.  Continue to pray and ask for discernment throughout this process.

2. LEARN all you can about your ideal client

Research everything you can about who your ideal client is, who they are, what they do, etc.

Begin by listing all of the people you have coached, are currently coaching or hope to coach.  Organize them into different categories.  Prioritize them.  Begin to clarify which ones are the best match for you given your gifting, experience, and chemistry.

Key questions for you to ask about your ideal client

  • Where do they live? 
  • What is their job? 
  • What are their aspirations?
  • What do they want help with? 
  • Where can you connect with them?
  • How do you want to meet with them? 

Answering questions like this helps you understand who they really want to work with and tailor your communications (marketing) to that person.  Here are a couple of examples of how this with help you in real practical ways:

  • Website design
  • Blog content 
  • Writing style
  • E-mail communications
  • Hard copy

3. DESCRIBE your ideal client

Begin the creative process of writing down the most important aspects of your ideal client so that you can refine again and again who you can coach.

You might want to recruit a partner in this exercise if you are a solopreneur.  Create a framework for your profile that suits your needs.  Include some of the major categories that will help you narrow your focus.  Here are some categories to consider:

  • Demographics
  • Psychographics
  • Pain points
  • Communication preferences

4. Feedback from trusted colleagues and friends

Ask 2-5 people whose opinions  you value for feedback.

Approach this exercise with a curious, objective, and teachable attitude. Identify colleagues and friends you trust.  Ask them for their unfiltered feedback. Ask questions like:

  • Who do you think I connect with most naturally?
  • Does this profile line-up?
  • What blind spots do you see? 

5. TEST to see who you actually attract

Learn the difference between Preferred Client vs. Actual Clients

You now have an idea of who you would like to coach.  Try to attract prospects who fit that profile.  If you want to coach CEOs of large corporations, then put your networking skills to the test and see who you actually attract.  This may be your preference but who do you actually attract?  After you discover that you are actually better suited to coach small business owners, tweak your profile to align with the profile of a small business owner.

Some of this will seem obvious.  My experience is, you will learn through trial and error.  I was told the first 100 clients you find are for your benefit, to gain experience, and to serve them well.  After that, you will have a deep understanding of who you can coach effectively.

RESOURCES

Read 10 Things to Consider as You Identify Your Ideal Client 

Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen by Donald Miller is an excellent resource that I used to create a profile of my ideal client, design my website – see www.infocusnet.org, and craft my elevator pitch.

Cover Photo by Cytonn Photography on Unsplash

Photo by Volodymyr Hryshchenko on Unsplash

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