If there is one thing you can do in your coaching practice to dramatically increase your client-attracting abilities it is to become crystal clear on exactly who your ideal clients are.
However, in my experience working with coaches to help them to identify their target clients, this is easier said than done. It takes work. It takes effort. It takes… thinking!
“Few people think more than two or three times a year. I’ve made an international reputation for myself by thinking once or twice a week.”
George Bernard Shaw
To help you to identify your ideal target market, I’d normally recommend that you look at a number of key areas. This normally involves techniques to help you to get clear on who you would ideally like to work with in your coaching practice.
However, there is another way that can sometimes be quicker and easier too…
Which type of clients do you not want?
You see, effective marketing is as much a process of screening out clients you don’t want to work with as it is in selecting clients you do want to attract into your coaching practice. Whilst at first this may seem counter-intuitive, it will dramatically increase the effectiveness of your client-attracting efforts.
Here are some points to think about:
1. Past clients – Think back on the clients you’ve worked with so far – paid, pro-bono or otherwise. Did you have any clients you didn’t particularly resonate with? Have you had any clients you’ve really not enjoyed?
2. Current clients – Are you working with any clients at the moment that you find hard or not enjoyable? Do you have any clients you don’t particularly resonate with?
3. Flip it – Consider the characteristics of people you’ve listed in points 1 and 2 above. How would you describe them? Now flip these characteristics over to positive attributes that you prefer. This will give you pointers on the type of clients you do want.
4. Note it – Write out a description of the type of clients you do want to be attracting into your coaching practice. Often, these will be the opposite of the points noted above.
As way of example, in the early days of my coaching career when I had a general coaching practice, I found that I attracted people from a wide range of backgrounds and personalities Most were enjoyable to work with but some client calls I did not look forward to at all.
Using the process above, I identified a client who was pretty self-centred and particularly avaricious. Flipping this over I was able to get clearer that the type of people I wanted to work with cared about others as well as themselves.
If you’re in a position of working with some clients you may not enjoy, you may want to consider the steps above. Otherwise, you’re not serving the client, your practice or yourself well at all. Doesn’t it make sense that if you work with clients you enjoy then everyone wins by getting better results?
Shaun O’Reilly is the founder of Authentic Practice and works exclusively with coaches to help them to build successful coaching practices.
He is also the author of The 5 Biggest Mistakes Coaches Make in Marketing and How You Can Avoid Them. To get your free copy just go to: http://www.authenticpractice.com/
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