Understanding the ideal target client for your business, and knowing how to communicate with them are key to continued business growth and success. Below are tips to help guide you along this process.
To identify your target clients, you should first consider the type of person or company who would want to purchase your services. For example, if you are an IT consultant, you should research companies that are growing in size. These companies will likely be looking to increase their IT infrastructure. You may also want to look for start-ups, as they are likely still trying to get their business established. Think about your business, the problems it solves, and who is most affected by these problems.
Take a look at your past and current clients. List each client's demographics, including age, industry, profession, gender, and geographic regions. Compare these lists, and take careful note of any similarities or patterns that emerge; you may find that your service appeals to a specific demographic or subset of consumers, which will guide you towards your next target.
Studying your competition's clients can give you two very important points of information. First, a successful competitor's client base can give you an idea of the type of client who uses similar services. This can be especially helpful for new independent consultants trying to acquire their first clients. In addition, looking at whom your competition serves may help you to discover a niche that is currently being overlooked by others in your industry.
Your consultancy's services are about more than just what you do; they're about how they can address a need or solve a problem that your potential clients have. Successful independent consultants are able to recognize those who both need and value their services. Consider the benefits your services provide, the problems they solve, and who would be most likely to place a high value on what you have to offer.
Once you understand your target audience, determine where they spend their time and how they communicate. Is your target audience well represented on social media networks? Would they frequently attend industry conventions? Are they likely to be active members of online communities? Do they read trade publications? Wherever they are, that's where you, and your message, need to be.
When you reach out to your target audience, you must talk to them in a way that speaks to their specific wants and needs. When they feel that you understand them, they will gain confidence in you and your business. You may alienate some who do not understand your lingo, but this will be minimized if you have properly narrowed down your target audience.
With the myriad of communication channels available today, limiting your focus could lead you to pass up opportunities to reach potential clients. While your industry or your clients' demographics may lead you to focus your efforts on particular mediums, try including additional channels in your communication efforts - particularly through methods with a relatively low barrier to entry, such as social media.
Take advantage of the connections you've already made. It's likely that the clients you've worked with have colleagues in their networks who could also benefit from your services, so encourage them to refer your services. Reach out to clients you have built strong relationships with, they will likely be happy to connect you with anyone they feel could benefit from your service. In addition, requesting recommendations and referrals from colleagues in your field or vendors you've worked with can also help you to reach your target clients.
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News and notes for independent professionals and their clients. This is our November 21, 2016 edition.