OUR BLOG

SALES

Five Strategies For Midsize Service Firms To Break Through Revenue Plateaus
How Pro Service Firms Can Fix The ‘Drop Everything — Chase Money’ Problem
Prospect, Originate, Navigate: How To Fill Your Professional Service Pipeline
To Grow Your Mid-Size Professional Service Firm, Think Carefully About Your Promise
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 7
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 6
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 5
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 4
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 3
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 2
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 1
How Mid-Size Service Firms Can Acquire Great New Clients On LinkedIn
Five Ways The Consultative Sale Improves Profits
How To Win The Complex Service Sale Consistently
Do You Choose Clients Or Do They Choose You?
How To Market & Sell Professional Services Today
How To Break The Grip Of Rainmaker Culture
How Content Impacts The Service Sale
How To Know When Prospects Are Ready
How To Pull Prospects Into Conversations
Nurture Organic Relationships Online
How To Build Relationships With Jaded Prospects
Do Prospects Want To Buy Or Be Sold?
Close Deals Faster Using Proof Statements
How To Get Mindshare With Busy Decision-Makers
How To Get Great Prospects Leaning In
How Digital Marketing Creates Sales Funnel Velocity
Digital Marketing Perfect For Complex Sales – Part 2
Digital Marketing Is Perfect For The Complex Sale
Your Best New Client Is Looking For You
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 3
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 2
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 1
Do This to Fill Your Sales Funnel
What You Must Do To Acquire New Clients
An Audience Of One
How to Attract New Ideal Clients
Are You A Content Marketer Or A Thought Leader?
Consider The Source: Theorist Or Practitioner
Why Pain Points Are Not Enough
Quick Or Deep Content: Which Is Better For Professional Service Firms?
Most Leads Are Not Ready To Engage – But They Will Be

MARKETING

How To Market Managed Services - Part 3
How To Market Managed Services - Part 2
How To Market Managed Services Today – Part 1
Why Service Firms Need A Multichannel Digital Marketing Strategy
Does Your Website Attract Ideal Clients?
Why Service Firms Need The Ultimate Digital Marketing Stack
The Myth Of The Time-Starved Service Buyer
Do You Choose Clients Or Do They Choose You?
How To Market & Sell Professional Services Today
Why You Need A Generous Brand
How Content Impacts The Service Sale
Are You Measuring Your Time Funnel?
How To Get Mindshare With Busy Decision-Makers
How To Get Great Prospects Leaning In
How Digital Marketing Creates Sales Funnel Velocity
Five Digital Marketing KPIs
Can Service Pros Over 40 Succeed In Digital?
Do Your Users Experience Content Regret?
Content Registrations Are Not Enough
Is Your Website Open For Business
How To Build A Great Digital Marketing Plan
Digital Marketing Perfect For Complex Sales – Part 2
Digital Marketing Is Perfect For The Complex Sale
The Value Of An Idea Driven Website
A New Website Won’t Bring You New Clients
Do You “Get” Digital Marketing? – Part 2
Do You Get Digital Marketing?
Who Benefits From Your Content?
Lead Nurturing Versus Content Marketing
Your Best New Client Is Looking For You
Make Your Website A New Client Driver
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 3
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 2
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 1
How To Get The Greatest Value From Content Marketing
Why You Should Absolutely Give Away Your Best Ideas
Do This to Fill Your Sales Funnel
What You Must Do To Acquire New Clients
An Audience Of One
How to Attract New Ideal Clients
Are You A Content Marketer Or A Thought Leader?
Consider The Source: Theorist Or Practitioner
Why Pain Points Are Not Enough
How To Nurture Ideal Prospects
Quick Or Deep Content: Which Is Better For Professional Service Firms?

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WHY SERVICE FIRMS SHOULD FOCUS ON IDEAL CLIENTS– PART 2

THE BENEFITS YOU CAN REALIZE FROM WORKING WITH IDEAL CLIENTS

In my last post on the topic of ideal clients, I identified the seven qualities that make ideal clients ideal. 
In this post, I want to highlight the benefits that come from focusing on ideal clients. When service firms have an abundance of ideal clients, amazing things happen. Let’s explore this together. 

Ideal client characteristics

You’ll recall from may last post that ideal clients have seven key characteristics:

• Impact: where you have a huge impact on them.
• Budgets: where they have reserved budget for your services.
• Profits: which you earn by serving them.
• Insights: where you know more about what they need than they know.
• Expertise: where you deliver the expertise that they need.
• Culture: where there is a good fit between how you do business and how clients like to be served.
• Chemistry: where you get along well with clients.

KEY TAKE-AWAY:

 

A DEEP-DIVE IDEAL CLIENT PROFILE HAS A BUILT-IN LIST OF TOPICS THAT CAN AND SHOULD INFORM CONTENT MARKETING.

The seven key outcomes

Does this sound like a love fest to you? I have to tell you, it pretty much is. When you love working with your clients and they love how you serve them, life is good. When professional service firms attract and serve ideal clients, they realize seven very desirable outcomes.

  • Revenue: they have all of the revenue they need to reward employees and stakeholders.
  • Profitability: their deals are consistently profitable at levels that exceed industry averages and fuel their economic engine.
  • Growth: they consistently grow at a rate that meets the expectations of stakeholders.
  • Loyalty: both staff and clients feel a strong sense of affinity for the firm and want to see it do well over time.
  • Satisfaction: staff enjoy their work as clients realize results that meet or exceed expectations.
  • Commitment: staff devote themselves to supporting clients and giving their best efforts.
  • Vision: executives and stakeholders take a long-term view and invest in initiatives that enable the firm to achieve its full potential.

Why don’t more service firms realize these outcomes?

Having worked with dozens of leaders of professional service firms over the last 20 years, I can say with a high degree of confidence that these are the outcomes that those leaders wanted to realize.

So why do only a small percentage of professional service firms break the feast or famine cycle, enjoy solid profits, grow consistently and realize a high quality of life? Why is it that so many leaders of professional service firms come home at the end of the day frazzled, worn-out and frustrated?

I see two primary root causes and they are both fixable by focusing on ideal clients: having two few deals and clients and running franken-business. Here is what I mean.

If your firm is struggling because you have too few deals and clients, more marketing may not be the answer. If you’re putting the right pieces in place (email, social, content, marketing automation) and you’re still struggling, it could very well be that you’re marketing is not connecting with the right prospective clients.

Franken-business is what happens when we stray from serving primarily ideal clients or stray from offering services that are core to our capabilities. Sometimes clients ask for services that we could provide, but probably shouldn’t provide. Sometimes people or companies who do not fit our ideal client profile want to work with us, and we take them on when we know we shouldn’t. We try to sew things together (thus the Frankenstein reference) when we know they really don’t fit.

How does focusing on ideal clients fix these two issues? Before I answer that question, let me draw an important distinction. 

This is not about buyer personas

Some companies develop buyer personas. But I often find that they do not go deep enough. An ideal client profile (ICP), the way I think of them, is not the same as a buyer persona. An ICP goes much deeper because it gets to the heart of what matters to ideal clients. An ICP, the way we develop them, focuses on three major areas:

  • Demographic, psychographic and geographic factors
  • Decision-makers & influencers by title and responsibility
  • A deep-dive discussion of decision-makers’ top goals, opportunities and challenges

When I begin talking to leaders of service firms, I’ll ask them if they’ve developed an ICP. Most of them will say yes. Then I’ll ask them to list the top 3-5 goals of their ideal clients for a specific service and the room grows suddenly silent. This tells me that they may have a buyer persona, but it’s not nearly insightful enough.

The other indicator of an ICP issue is content. An ICP’s major benefit to marketing is that it informs the topics around which you produce content. A deep-dive ICP has a built-in list of topics that can and should inform content marketing.

How an ICP fixes low-deal-volume and franken-business

So how can an ideal client profile address these two key issues: feast-or-famine and franken-business? I see two primary benefits.

First, when you have a strong ICP, you are in the best position to produce content that prospective ideal clients cannot resist. If you deliver insights in your content, prospects will recognize you as the expert. This will draw them to you. You may have to promote the content and you may have to be diligent in your social media efforts, but the prospects will come. Why? Because they cannot resist the opportunity to hear from an expert, a thought leader, who is speaking to topics that deeply matter to them.

Second, when a new opportunity lands on your doorstep, the ICP will help you gauge whether or not it’s right for you. When you have a detailed ideal client profile, it’s pretty easy to compare it to a new prospective client and ask yourself if there is a fit. If there is not a fit, it may not be the best thing to take on that new deal or new client.

An ideal client profile delivers tremendous benefits to service companies. But I’ll bet you might be wondering about how to build one. That is, in fact, the topic of my next post on this subject.

About The Author

Randy Shattuck is a seasoned entrepreneur who works hand-in-hand with senior leaders of mid-size professional service firms to grow revenues, acquire clients, open new markets, increase profits and effectively position their brands.

OUR BLOG

SALES

Five Strategies For Midsize Service Firms To Break Through Revenue Plateaus
How Pro Service Firms Can Fix The ‘Drop Everything — Chase Money’ Problem
Prospect, Originate, Navigate: How To Fill Your Professional Service Pipeline
To Grow Your Mid-Size Professional Service Firm, Think Carefully About Your Promise
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 7
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 6
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 5
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 4
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 3
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 2
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 1
How Mid-Size Service Firms Can Acquire Great New Clients On LinkedIn
Five Ways The Consultative Sale Improves Profits
How To Win The Complex Service Sale Consistently
Do You Choose Clients Or Do They Choose You?
How To Market & Sell Professional Services Today
How To Break The Grip Of Rainmaker Culture
How Content Impacts The Service Sale
How To Know When Prospects Are Ready
How To Pull Prospects Into Conversations
Nurture Organic Relationships Online
How To Build Relationships With Jaded Prospects
Do Prospects Want To Buy Or Be Sold?
Close Deals Faster Using Proof Statements
How To Get Mindshare With Busy Decision-Makers
How To Get Great Prospects Leaning In
How Digital Marketing Creates Sales Funnel Velocity
Digital Marketing Perfect For Complex Sales – Part 2
Digital Marketing Is Perfect For The Complex Sale
Your Best New Client Is Looking For You
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 3
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 2
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 1
Do This to Fill Your Sales Funnel
What You Must Do To Acquire New Clients
An Audience Of One
How to Attract New Ideal Clients
Are You A Content Marketer Or A Thought Leader?
Consider The Source: Theorist Or Practitioner
Why Pain Points Are Not Enough
Quick Or Deep Content: Which Is Better For Professional Service Firms?
Most Leads Are Not Ready To Engage – But They Will Be

MARKETING

How To Market Managed Services - Part 3
How To Market Managed Services - Part 2
How To Market Managed Services Today – Part 1
Why Service Firms Need A Multichannel Digital Marketing Strategy
Does Your Website Attract Ideal Clients?
Why Service Firms Need The Ultimate Digital Marketing Stack
The Myth Of The Time-Starved Service Buyer
Do You Choose Clients Or Do They Choose You?
How To Market & Sell Professional Services Today
Why You Need A Generous Brand
How Content Impacts The Service Sale
Are You Measuring Your Time Funnel?
How To Get Mindshare With Busy Decision-Makers
How To Get Great Prospects Leaning In
How Digital Marketing Creates Sales Funnel Velocity
Five Digital Marketing KPIs
Can Service Pros Over 40 Succeed In Digital?
Do Your Users Experience Content Regret?
Content Registrations Are Not Enough
Is Your Website Open For Business
How To Build A Great Digital Marketing Plan
Digital Marketing Perfect For Complex Sales – Part 2
Digital Marketing Is Perfect For The Complex Sale
The Value Of An Idea Driven Website
A New Website Won’t Bring You New Clients
Do You “Get” Digital Marketing? – Part 2
Do You Get Digital Marketing?
Who Benefits From Your Content?
Lead Nurturing Versus Content Marketing
Your Best New Client Is Looking For You
Make Your Website A New Client Driver
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 3
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 2
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 1
How To Get The Greatest Value From Content Marketing
Why You Should Absolutely Give Away Your Best Ideas
Do This to Fill Your Sales Funnel
What You Must Do To Acquire New Clients
An Audience Of One
How to Attract New Ideal Clients
Are You A Content Marketer Or A Thought Leader?
Consider The Source: Theorist Or Practitioner
Why Pain Points Are Not Enough
How To Nurture Ideal Prospects
Quick Or Deep Content: Which Is Better For Professional Service Firms?