Client Acquisition Strategies
Acquiring great clients is job number one for consultants, gig workers, agencies, Realtors, agencies, and developers.
Any number of tactics might generate a dream client for you, but relying on cheap tricks is not a great way to promote yourself, your brand, career, and your startup agency.
Instead, a strategy that gets you focused on what they want and need, what you want to offer and how to reach them, make impact, and arrange your first contract.
How strategic you are really comes back to how bad you want your dream client. And remember, they’re looking for you too.
For you the provider who commutes or who might be a digital nomad offering the precise skills and talent the client needs, developing a technique to find the best client is critically important to your financial well being and happiness. Then comes your content and value proposition which builds your personal brand laser clear in their mind.
Competition is an issue, however, if you present yourself extremely well to match their dreams, then the competition will evaporate. Some believe competition is for losers, however there’s lots of talented people out with good value propositions also after your dream client. So let’s not call it competition, but rather a focused communication project that gets rid of competition.
The Pursuit of Perfection
Given the rise in interest in this post, it seems this is on the minds of many entrepreneurs, professionals and solo digital workers. They’ve come to realize that performance may be directly related to the match with the client. Dream client just means the right for you.
For instance, if you’re an app developer, digital analytics expert, AI expert, or eager marketer with a flair for promotion, and your client doesn’t value any of that, then the potential is killed right away. You need a client that truly values what you do, and your vibrancy and commitment and is willing to invest in it.
Get the right ideal clients for you and what you do, and everything changes. This post on strategy reiterates what should always be your strategy – to identify your goal/ideal, then work your way back from there. Our beginning is the end – to obtain a happy customer who feels one single emotion – fulfilled. And what can you possibly offer to make that happen for them? Are you creating the right messaging to get that across? Let’s get into all of that now.
Dream Clients = happy partnership + reaching higher potential + higher earnings + continuously better results that give the power/earnings to do even more.
You’ve got the Wrong Clients!
In business, you could work for great clients or employers who are sincere, intelligent, and who want to build extraordinary outcomes. You might earn 100x more with these clients as opposed to a client from hell, who runs you both into the ground.
This strategy can help you escape that rat wheel.
Take a quick scan down the page and you’ll see a study and actionable plan to help you supercharge your client acquisition and revenue simultaneously. It finishes with important questions to ask yourself and includes dream client meeting preparation tips.
There’s a lot to consider and provide in creating a dream client. But don’t get overwhelmed. Build the steps of the strategy one at a time. Master each one, and know where your big strength and biggest weakness is (it’s likely self-promotion).
Making Everyone’s Dreams Come True
As you’re aware, acquiring a super client can be very transformative. Together, you can open each other’s dreams and create an unstoppable business — a true market leader. Market leadership proves everything worked. The plan, the funding, the effort, the creativity, and persistence worked because it was a good match.
You’re after a strategy which can really help you find perfect employers/clients and create an arrangement where you can provide maximum benefit. You need a communications plan too.
Because they may not believe you can be that important to them. They have severe limits on their imagination and it could be costing them so much. They may believe your role is extraneous and minor. That’s not a good signal.
After identifying great prospects, you’ll need a consistent effort to communicate how you’re on board to make their dreams come true, and that they must enable you to get those results. If you fail to communicate this, then you’re back where you are now with a chronically underperforming company.
And this process should encourage you to review your skill base, effort, and passion for the job. People do hire for passion, and passionate people often look organized and ready to contribute. They don’t have to be managed much. They’re set from the get go, so be one of those “passionate” people.
Examine your skills, training, education and your effort to optimize every part of how you work. Your true talent is more obvious to them than you think. And if you don’t exercise your talents, position them to be leveraged by them, and communicate results, then you could be stuck on that rat wheel of continuous mediocrity. You want a client that knows this and sees helping you access the skills and all resources required.
You’ll be able to assess whether they enable their staff/contractors or whether they’re starved.
Your 2023 Dream Client Strategy. Here are the sections:
- Why Dream Clients are the Best
- Why You Don’t Have Dream Clients
- The 5 Steps of Your Dream Plan
- Right Now You’re Irrelevant
- Two Keys: Optimism and Confidence
- Dream Client Persona Development
- Planning for Your Dream Client Meeting
- More Questions to Ask
- The Key Goal to Creating your Dream Client – One Single Emotion
Dream Client Strategy — Sounds Wonderful!
It is, and it could easily generate hundreds of thousands of dollars for you as a freelancer, or millions if you operate an agency. In fact, below you’ll read about a Toronto marketing agency that takes it seriously. And what it takes is faith in yourself.
Few agency CEOs bother targeting perfect clients and instead, cast a wide net to work with whoever they get. Word of mouth is a good example of walk in traffic. The difference in money and satisfaction is staggering. And you won’t need hand me down anything when you get this strategy in place.
Imagine if you Landed just One Dream Client
This EPIC business post covers a repeatable process of determining who your ideal client is and positioning your UVP to attract and win them over. I’ve done it and I know it’s worth it. Yet it is more difficult today and it’s likely you’ll need to be able to do it over and over again. Because this is the gig economy, and with AI entering the scene, you’re competing with a lot, which is why finding great clients is key to capitalizing on your time, money and energy investment in your business.
Dream clients can help you build lasting consistency, and a partnership that builds continuous performance for no loss.
And with your perfected performance strategy, you get that much better for your next client.
Dream Clients are the Essence of a Successful Business
The one thing all successful employees, freelancers, and businesses have is great customers, employers or clients. That’s what success is – great customers or clients to serve.
According to a study from Mark W. Schaefer, an internationally-acclaimed college educator, author, keynote speaker, and strategy consultant, 3 to 4 buyer personas usually account for over 90% of a company’s sales. Our best clients generate our revenue.
As we venture into this topic, you’ll learn a repeatable, ever-improving process of understanding and focusing on the best clients possible.
We Deserve Fantastic Clients not Crappy Ones
Raise your Standards. Targeting and winning a quality client shows you’re serious about your business. Because if you have crappy clients, the future can’t look all that good and you know it. It can drag you down emotionally and mentally.
Once you’ve had dream clients, you won’t want crappy ones again. It’s not just money. It’s about living well and having the lifestyle you want. Money too, isn’t about bank accounts, it’s about them funding the performance they need and letting you live your dream work life.
And it’s about working with people who’ll inspire and elevate you and make every second count.
Show You Do Care. Share this Post With Others.
This EPIC post on attracting and capturing dream clients is well worth sharing with friends and coworkers right now. There’s no doubt you know many people who are stuck in a sad, life sucking situation.
There’s nothing more important than helping people. From a 5 step plan to tips on how to maintain the dream client relationship, it’s all you need to know to take your own consulting/contracting business to the level it deserves.
Why Haven’t You Found your Dream Clients?
It’s most likely because you’ve never tried, understood who they are, or had a plan or strategy. You looked at the salary, where they were located, and the job description.
Here’s why the traditional employee job search doesn’t work:
- low reach; they don’t know you exist or you were a flash in the pan
- successful people are busy and you aren’t intercepting or disrupting them
- successful people are obsessed with their routine business activities not being open to new solutions
- dream clients prefer specialists who are very good at whatever is their biggest pain point
- they don’t believe you offer anything special or of significant value
- dream clients have big expectations in terms of fit and character
- competition is overwhelming and you haven’t found a way to be more competitive and make the competition disappear
- you’re not yourself right now, you’re depressed or trying too hard and prospects are unsure who you really are
- your offer isn’t personalized and relevant enough to them (someone else is more relevant than you)
- you haven’t done enough research to identify your dream client accurately
- you haven’t shown thought leader type knowledge of their market and situation
- your style, tone of voice, and topics don’t appeal to them – no sincere passion
- you’re too much this or not enough that
- you’re not catching their attention with a specific topic or a news item they’re very keyed into
- your brand image is unfocused – they can’t figure you out
- you have too much clutter for them to weed through
- you’re not telling what you like and admire so they can feel appreciated
- they don’t believe you really care about what they’re doing
Here’s a simple 5 step plan that gets you on your way:
The 5 Steps of Your Dream Plan
Just to get oriented, let’s map out a 5 Step Beginning Plan:
- a brief summary of what you offer and what makes you unique
- a brief statement of your target customer or dream client
- how you’ll get in front of them
- how you’ll convince them of your value and relevance
- how you’ll make beautiful music together – you become their dream partner
When I created my dream clients previously in decades gone by, it was easy. There were few competitors and prospects had a unified view of the help they needed. Competition today is insane and the prospect’s view is fragmented. Competition and communication noise is the number one problem.
That’s why a plan and strategy are so vital – for reach, visibility, impact, engagement, and convincing them you have a powerful and sustainable solution and you’re a compelling person to work with. They will buy the brand called you.
Step 1: Define What you Offer
Take my situation as a marketing services provider.
— I generate leads and sales by attracting high-quality targeted traffic and then strategically position my client’s brand and value proposition via epic content marketing pieces so their UVP is impactful, significant, engaging, and convincing, and they sell like crazy.
That’s a little long winded, however it’s important to highlight traffic, engagement and revenue since these are client’s 3 biggest pain points in digital marketing. And today, clients are too focused on the end sales goals and what’s supposed to work. Fact is, success needs a big, well-funded foundation today. It’s competitive out there.
If you’re unsuccessful, I would guess to say you don’t have funding to do things right — you lack tools, resources, connections, and more to make it easy. And all of that means being competitive in a sense, so you can get your brand message to reach the right people. But reaching via Linkedin is one channel more of us are focusing on now.
Your Linkedin profile can convey a powerful message and your activities are always perk up attention via Linkedin’s matching system. Their system can generate excellent leads so make it a key part of your strategy.
Step 2: Describe your Dream Client
— A SMB manager or professional in California who needs broad visibility on Google and high-quality content marketing to engage and convince their prospects
Your ideal client may be in a number of industries in Florida, New York, California or Canada, so you can break your ideal client down into let’s say 5 unique categories (e.g., legal, real estate, professional services, travel, finance) and geo location.
Step 3: How Will I get in Front of Them?
— use Google, Linkedin, Facebook (and email) to position excellent, authoritative and engaging content in relation to their search for perspectives, insight, data, and solutions they believe will serve their needs. Content is simply a demonstration of your work and performance capabilities posed in an engaging read or video.
I’ve never used video to promote myself and that is a big downer. Videos done really well, have a lot of impact. Look into how you might produce one single video on your budget, and place it on YouTube too and within your best, key content pieces and your about page. They’ll be visiting your about page.
They will never find me via topics I am interested in. They search for solutions and information using their own unique inquiry process, pain points and questions. Therefore, we must write and create content beginning with their problems and interests in mind. Find your best prospect and study them deeply. You’ll find out where they hang out so you can gently get on their radar, and look natural about it.
Step 4: How Will You Convince Them?
— By blogging and posting unique perspectives with authoritative yet friendly insight into topics they believe are relevant and timely in their industry, and which makes an emotional impact to create one single emotion that makes them focus on me and my solution.
Convincing means bringing their beliefs into a new alignment and dissolving their fears. Because they don’t act until they feel good about it. Use good stories of past accomplishments, problems encountered and surmounted, and applaud your previous clients. Show how you’re ready to grow, learn and produce more for them.
Step 5: How Will You Make Beautiful Music Together?
— Show them how your work together will grow and sustain itself to create a feeling that results only improve in the years ahead — continuous productivity and value. Reiterate why your dream business partnership will work and how you can help them see the vision of where they’re going.
You’ve got to allay their post-purchase anxiety before they purchase. You’ve convinced them, but at their zero moment of decision, you must crystalize a clear and fulfilling vision. Find some way to get the vision laser clear. Do some creative brainstorming, perhaps review their top competitor and what they’re doing successfully, and allude to them.
What I discovered previously is that BIG VISIBILITY gets their attention and is absolutely necessary. Google’s reach through search and YouTube’s user base is massive. Google still generates most of the online traffic.
That means high Google rankings and a good social media strategy should be part of your “Dream Repertoire.” Patient positioning on the right topics is where it’s at. And it doesn’t matter what business you’re in. Social media is just a direct connection to their daily world, if they’ll let you in (i.e., Linkedin).
Good prospects will be quietly impressed that you’re in the right zone, and are potentially a good choice. They’ll use their own process to check you out deeper. They don’t let enthusiasm get in the way of good judgement.
They’ll Talk to You When They Know You
So you’re thinking, how do you reach and connect with your dream client if they won’t talk with you? You have to let them find you, and discover your message of how relevant you are (your EPIC online content).
Did you know your marketing content determines which clients or customers you get? So does your choice of topics, words, phrases, characters, stories and tone of voice. That’s why you must do your research to discover enough about them to build that content pathway to their deepest gaps and dreams, and then slowly build a pleasant relationship with them.
Right Now, You’re Unknown and Irrelevant
If you get turned down or discriminated against, it’s because you weren’t the right fit, which means you don’t fit into their dream. They believe you’re irrelevant to their goals, lifestyle, processes, and how they want to solve their business pains.
You need to develop a target client persona and formulate a laser like understanding of the most essential needs they have. Look at their most recent activity and drill down to find that ideal state they’re searching for. And you’ll need to speak to them via the media they like. That could be a blog, video, unique web design, visual content marketing piece, or a top ranking spot on Google rankings. They get the ball rolling.
Optimism and Confidence aren’t Skills, They’re a Vital Attitude
I really admire those who consistently pursue ideals, because it takes the time, money, confidence, and an optimistic frame of mind that I want to have. Persistence is important to me, but it could represent deficiencies in my efforts and plan. Those with massive cash, great skills, and big energy may not need persistence. They get to it fast and get it done.
LIFE’S MORE FUN WHEN YOU’RE IN GOOD COMPANY. BUSINESS IS TOO — Nikki Ellidge Brown
High Quality Dream Clients Also pay More
Focusing on high-paying dream clients will likely lead to greater income. With the wrong clients, your salary will stagnate, hit a ceiling or stopping point, and struggle to survive. Price depends on what they feel your perceived value is. So it’s not you really, it’s that they believe your contribution can never be valued. They have a fixed attitude about the work you do, so don’t forget to keep communicating and proving the value of what you do. Find out why something’s not working, and acquire the skills, information and resources to turn it around.
What Dream Clients Need
Here’s a quick list of why it’s smart to pursue dream clients, just to ease you into this topic of targeting ideal clients:
- ideal clients have the specific opportunities/gaps that you can fufill
- dream clients need your specific skills, attitude, and experience
- dream clients need your leadership
- dream clients will appreciate you more and thus will be sustainable clients
- dream clients want reliable providers/partners — and you’ll be able to cut down on your new client prospecting efforts
- dream clients know you aren’t the recognized greatest, but they know they will turn you into the greatest — they’re confident they can turn their partners into market leaders
- they need more money, enjoy more time and freedom, and to be happier
- they need confidence, focus, and support
You Must Maintain 100% Responsibility for the Relationship
Client management is a big task that we often neglect. But as your client goes, so goes you. You have to take care of your precious dream client and show them you care about it.
To do this, you might have to get pushy and assertive with questions, to discover big threats impending. Often, I kept out of clients’ business and financial affairs (not my business), the fact is, poor funding is the number one cause of failure. You may want to have a hard talk about the future of their financing. It could kill their business and end your relationship.
Make sure you’re able to walk away from a client that’s handling their business poorly. Discussions about money could lead to termination. Even Dream clients can screw up on financing and funding and it can ruin things end to end. Not being competitive in marketing is a red flag. Marketing is the future of a business.
This is one area I have failed in and have continuous trouble with. I didn’t acknowledge, discuss and help remove barriers for them assertively, keep in close frequent touch, nor kept my dream clients primed for ongoing success. That’s called account management and definitely your sales, interpersonal and business development skills will help there.
Of course, when working with clients remotely, often thousands of miles way, it’s tough to help them deal with their direct challenges in their work or personal lives. Visits to your client’s city is wise for many reasons. But most, is to get closer to what’s causing them difficulty, which could be funding-related, confidence, priorities, etc.
Sure, we’re not responsible for their ailing enthusiasm, confidence, resourcefulness, and we often keep our mouths shut as though it’s not our business. Well, you’ll learn the hard way, that if you leave clients to their own path, that your relationship will fail. There are always new challenges, pains, and unwise decisions and that will impact your relationship.
It’s no fun watching your clients board the Titanic. But it will likely happen to you.
Their imagination imploded and they simply lost it. I discovered they are human. Although I could see some of this beforehand and I questioned them about decisions (some poor quality clients for them) it wasn’t enough to get them back on track. They didn’t respect my thoughts on dream clients and poor clients will drag you to the bottom.
What I failed to understand well, is that I needed to step up and assume 100% responsibility for the relationship. 0% for them and 100% for me. Not fair, but that’s how it is if you want to survive. Get this right, and they will be able to live without you.
Do They Think You’re a Leader?
Clients view us as dominant leaders – authoritative, fearless and visionary. That’s why they’re hiring us and paying us big money. Yet when I saw that success was making them bored and ineffective, I failed to act and help them overcome their issues. I wasn’t the fearless leader after all.
That’s why you need money in the bank and your client funnel full. Options give you poise and courage, and help you make better decisions. Because sometimes people in your personal and business life won’t progress or take your advice, and you might have to plant your feet. And sometimes they won’t participate or listen — they know it all and won’t listen.
In business, dominant leaders need to step up and take 100% responsibility. You’re there because you’re smarter, more optimistic, skilled, visionary, energetic, relentless and confident. Your outlook carries a company in your wake and you may have to keep the captain of that ship focused on the mission. Even when you’re a part time remote contractor, ensure you show support for their mission and respect what they’re doing.
Keep your client properly directed, focused, informed, feeling good, and you may never have to face that situation where you have to fire them. You’re not a doormat or a cog in someone else’s wheel. You’re someone building genuine, authentic, mutually constructive relationships. And that means big picture planning.
88Creative in Toronto – Chasing the Dream Client
Some marketing agencies are very specific, such as Toronto’s 88Creative who targeted specific companies — with their gutsy Dream Client List. To me, the fact they had this list shows they are on the ball and drive themselves to big successes with great clients. It’s classic big picture thinking that shows us why a focus on details is the stuff of losers.
“We started a ‘dream 100’ client list, thinking about the types of brands and companies that we would love to work with someday, and Warby Parker was on that list,” said Erin Bury, managing director at 88 Creative. “When we heard that they were launching in Canada, we said, ‘okay, this is our chance and we need do something attention-grabbing.’”
Even if 88Creative didn’t land one of their listed dream clients, just doing this makes them think creatively, boldly, to perfect their process, assess results, and improve their attraction to dream clients. I’m not sure of Erin’s full expertise in dream client theory, but she seems very smart. What if you applied this dream client thinking to all of your business activities regardless of what industry you’re in?
And with respect to how 88Creative went about showcasing their attractiveness to dream clients, Erin Bury added, “The goal of this was always to get their attention, but I think the larger goal is to showcase the type of aesthetic we have as an agency and the type of creativity that we put into our ideas.”
That creativity can be expressed very effectively in blogs or marketing magazine articles where you explore the topics clients feel strongly about. The type of aesthetic and creativity should be relative to specfic types of issues prospects face. A lot of agencies exercise all their creative genius, but then apply it to the wrong topics and forget to highlight how they approach solutions.
Whenever prospects call me and say they loved my blogs, they always refer to a topic. It’s the topic itself that inspires them and they like that you recognized the importance of it.
10 More Questions to Ask to Identify Your Dream Clients
Back to analyzing who are your dream clients. Think deep:
- who have you enjoyed working with in the past and why was it so enjoyable?
- what do they talk about most on their blogs and Facebook page?
- what is their biggest problems and complaints?
- what topics, keywords, and values do they mention?
- what is their idea of heaven?
- who are they working with right now?
- are they going anywhere or are they spinning their wheels? Why?
- who do they talk about and link out to on their website?
- how do they talk and what events do they attend?
- what is the opportunity gap in markets, content, and visbility they could enjoy?
After you’ve done your surfing, stalking, and assessments, you’ll need to figure out what it is about you that will be compelling to them. That willl be the foundation of your future content strategy and your professional brand.
Yes, you probably should develop a list all of their needs, preferences and ambitions and then explain how your company’s solution is best for them or how you’re the ideal person or agency for them.
But let’s cut to the key stuff now.
What are their outlook, dreams, self-image, brand image, goals, assets, tools, staff, and market opportunity? Are they a winner and how do they view providers?
Dream Client Persona Development
You can use persona development solutions to help you understand your dream client better. I’m not sure it will create miracles for you, but it could help you get better organized. Check out Marianas, a company in San Mateo, California. They use artificial intelligence software to build detailed profiles of target customers.
You’ll need to go beyond software and worksheet templates. You’ll need to ask detailed questions about what your client needs, how they think and make decisions, and how you’ll be meaningful to them. Many times, it means getting out there and meeting them so you can learn their values and prejudices. And don’t think for a minute that you can’t overcome anything.
Wise Planning for Your Dream Client Meeting
When your ideal client invites you for an in-person a meeting, things get real. This is where it’s all about them and how you’ll make a difference. I like what I read in an article by Mike O’Horo about the preparation time for a dream client being months or years.
With all that prep for research, website development, published materials, and content marketing, your next stop is a meeting with them.
Here are some pointed questions to ask to create your meeting presentation:
- what is your goal for the meeting? You need to have a goal, using supporting material (if you have that material). This helps focus their attention on what they’re missing. Set that out in your power point presentation.
- what is it specifically you’ve discovered about their business? Use visual graphics to spell it out
- list their weaknesses and opportunities – and discuss issues and the future of their business
- what qualifies you to be their new advisor/solution provider (relate your relevant experience)
- what is impactful and compelling about you, your brand, skills, acumen, and capability? Match their needs with your skills, experience and capability.
- what is it you can do or will do to make you better than your competition?
- what unique skill or power makes you so over-the-top good that you launch new buying behavior in your dream client?
- explain how the business, decision maker, and influencers (staff) will benefit from your solution
- list what their staff criticisms and objections will be and then destroy each one in the presentation
- don’t overrate your personal skills. I’ve spoken with many realtors for instance and none used the words brilliance, genius, master, or even skills. If they were vital then these words would have arisen at some point. Pay attention to their vocabulary.
- discuss the ROI and operational business effects from solving each pain point.
When your presentation is good, it makes you look like you care about their business. You’ve invested time, thought and energy. it’s likely that no one else has ever peered into their business. You’re the first! That’s something to smile about.
The Key Objective in Creating your Dream Client – One Single Emotion
Your content strategy matches you up with the emotion they feel about the issue and lays out the connections or path they need to take.
And when they feel one single emotion about you, that’s when your dream client contacts you. And they feel powerful that they found you and that it was their decision.
You’ll never achieve brilliance in business unless you’re willing to let go of what doesn’t work. I hope this post revolutionizes what you think about client acquisition and about the content you need to land them. Good Luck!
By the way, SEO and Content Strategy combined will have more impact on your clients than anything else you can do. Clients are always searching, and they’re hoping to find you in those search results. You’d better be there. Check out my book on how to build a dominant presence on Google, engage them, convince them, and show them how you’re the best asset they have.