Most service professionals throw out too wide a net.

Even if you could serve several different types of clients in various industries, it is absolutely exhausting to try to do this.

Here’s why:

  • You don’t know where to find prospects
  • You don’t know where to market
  • You don’t know what type of content to create
  • You don’t know who exactly you are speaking to

The result is a lot of spray-and-pray marketing and networking that doesn’t generate quality leads.

Lukewarm leads result in awkward sales conversations that leave you feeling frustrated and broke.

One of the mantras I have heard about ideal clients is that they need, want, and are willing to pay for your services. That’s a pretty good place to start, but I think we can focus the lens and get even clearer.

One of my mentors, Jeffrey Van Dyk, says that he has people look for “hunger” in a prospect. He describes himself as a bloodhound who is always sniffing around for hunger.

On a webinar today, I heard him talking again about ideal clients, and for some reason it really landed for me. He said that ideal clients:

  • Are aware of their problem
  • Have pain around it
  • Are willing to spend money to solve it

I started thinking about the prospects I have spoken with recently and why they didn’t buy.

My prospects knew they had a problem, which was why they scheduled a consultation. They had some pain around it and might have been willing to spend some money, but after thinking about it, the pain wasn’t enough for them to part with the dollars to hire me.

In short, they weren’t hungry enough and were willing to live with the pain.

That’s actually a big issue for service providers. The human animal can live with a lot of pain for a long time because we adjust our baseline and experience this new pain threshold as “normal.”

If you’re an experienced service provider with a premium service, you expect to be paid well for your knowledge and expertise. If a prospect hasn’t gotten to the point where they feel like they HAVE to get some help with this problem and the pain it’s causing, they will not invest with you.

You need to get inside your ideal prospect’s head and figure out what is making them so crazy that they need to fix it immediately. You need to address their issues explicitly on your landing pages and in content you create.

You also need to talk about your experience helping people just like them.

When you nail this, sales conversations get easy and prospects become clients.

When you know all the pain points of a prospect, they are less likely to shop around or price compare. They will know that you’re the person who can help them.

And no, it doesn’t exclude you from working with other types of clients. Other people will raise their hand for a sales conversation because they like your style – or your content spoke to them as well.

So, if you’re frustrated with your business development and marketing results, the first place to look is whether you need to focus your lens and get even clearer on who you want to work with, and who you can best serve.

Target their hunger in every interaction. Let them know that you understand their issues better than anyone. This will put you in the driver’s seat and will get you better results.