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A Simple but Informative Ideal Client Profile Formula

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A Simple but Informative Ideal Client Profile Formula

When you are first writing your ideal client profiles you don’t need to know absolutely everything about them. You can start with a simple ideal client profile formula to help you establish the most important information about your ideal client. Then add to that profile as you get to know your ideal client a little better.

A Simple but Informative Ideal Client Profile FormulaLast week I wrote about the benefits of having multiple ideal client profiles and included my  preliminary ideal client profile formula. It is:

1. Give your client a name.
2. What does this person want that would lead them to your product or service?
3. How will this client get what they want?
4. What challenges does this ideal client face?
5. What is the client’s approximate age?

This ideal client profile formula is basic and a good place to start when you are writing a new ideal client profile, especially if you are writing it for a new product or service and don’t have past data to look at for information on your ideal client or customer. To help you write it, here are some brief explanations of each part of the formula.

1. Give your ideal client a name.

Your ideal client’s name needs to be something that fits the client you are writing about. It should be a name that you believe someone who wants the benefits that your product or service provides would have. You don’t need to have a first and last name, just pick something that fits your client and your interactions with them. For instance, if you are offering a product or service geared to doctors your ideal client’s profile name might be something like Dr. Smith. In other situations, your profile name might only be a first name.

2. What does this person want that would lead them to your product or service?

Your ideal client might not actually want, or know they want, your product and service, but they probably do need or want something that your product or service can bring them or help them achieve. It is your job to help them see how they can Knowing how you can help your clients succeed will help you align your offering is aligned with their needs and wants.

3. How will this client get what they want?

Purchasing your product or service is only be one part of your client’s plans for achieving their goals. Your challenge is to understand how your offer fits in with your ideal client’s current situation and how it can be part of their future. For instance, a pottery shop’s ideal customer might be someone who appreciates the beauty of handcrafted items. This client may want to replace what they own with handcrafted pieces but be unable to purchase everything they want all at once.  By understanding each ideal client’s motivations, you can identify how to show that your product helps them achieve their goals and you can plan for how you fit in to your client’s plans.

4. What challenges does this ideal client face?

This section is about two questions:

  • What is standing between your client and the outcome he or she wants?
  • What can you do to help them overcome these challenges?

As you consider your clients’ and customers’ challenges remember that no matter what your opinion of a particular challenge is, each challenge is very real to the person experiencing it. This means that they need a real solution that is workable for them. Workable solutions will vary based on the client’s resources, priorities, and time constraints. Remember the solution needs to be do-able from the client’s perspective. Often solutions must be broken up into manageable pieces for the client to recognize that the solution can work for them.

5. What other traits can you identify about your ideal client?

This part of the ideal client profile formula is where you consider your ideal client’s individual traits and characteristics But before you begin, there are two reasons why I made this the last section in my formula and both of them represent potential hazards:

  • You don’t want to force your ideal client into a demographic group; and,
  • You don’t want to let your preconceptions about a group influence your answers in the previous sections.

To avoid these hazards, I recommend reading over what you wrote in the first four sections and writing down your observations regarding that person.

The only two traits that I think you should definitely try to identify are gender and approximate age, which can be a narrow or wide range. Otherwise don’t force yourself to assign a trait when you aren’t certain of it. In my experience, forcing myself to assign traits to an ideal client, especially when I didn’t have a basis for making that assignment led to an ideal client profile that felt unnatural and that, in the end, I didn’t have a lot of confidence in.

As you complete this also remember that your individual ideal client may not be someone who fits in with the stereotypes or common generalizations made about his or her demographic groups. Not all stereotypes and generalizations, whether positive or negative, are fair or accurate for your ideal client, or their demographic as a whole. Instead of focusing on how people in X demographic are, focus on who your client is.

Finally, If an individual profile includes something that may not hold true for your ideal client overall, still record it. This is a reason to write multiple ideal client profiles and then look for what the have in common.

Conclusion

The ideal client profile formula I have outlined in this post is a starting place. It is particularly intended for business owners who:

  • Have not written an ideal client profile before;
  • Are struggling with writing an ideal client profile because (1) their business is in start-up, (2) they don’t have many (or any) clients, and/or (3) they don’t understand their ideal client;
  • Are introducing a new product or service and have open questions about who their ideal client for that product or service is; or
  • Are using what they know about perspective clients based on those clients’ actions based on research into their actions in the marketplace.

Often, you won’t have all the information you would like to guide you in identifying your ideal client. Use this formula as a template to help you:

  • Understand who your client is;
  • What your ideal client might want; and,
  • How to fit your offering to your client’s needs and wants.

Once you have several profiles you can compare them to find similarities and important differences. Take note of these so you can keep track of them and think about how they can be used in your business.

Melissa Mortensen
Business Strategist and Coach
melissamortensen.com
www.linkedin.com/in/melissarmortensen

P.S. As your business progresses go back and update the profiles with new information you have discovered about your ideal client. Keep copies of the older versions, you may want to use one profile as a base for multiple expanded profiles.

Copyright Notice: One of the reasons the Internet is great is the opportunities to share content. Please feel free to share links to this post! Please attribute it to Melissa Mortensen and melissamortensen.com.

This Post Has 2 Comments
  1. Thank You for writing this article, It definitely will prove useful. I do have a question, Can you use this formula on pretty much and genre or niche when profiling an individual?

    1. I’m glad you found this useful!

      You should be able to use this formula to begin an ideal client profile in nearly any niche. As you learn more about your ideal client you should update the profile with additional relevant information when you discover it.

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