I get strange and puzzled looks when I talk with lawyers about “ideal clients”.
So many think the “ideal client” is an oxymoron – a contradiction in terms. Like jumbo shrimp, small crowds, or clearly confused. That’s why it is so fun to see the transformation when they finally see the path to having good clients, great clients – and even ideal ones.
Why does it matter?
In today’s market people (and companies) are not hiring generalists. They want a specialist who has solved the problem they have for other people before. Besides, it’s not possible, credible, or fun to try to be everything to everyone. And it is not necessary.
When you identify your ideal client you will be able to:
- Connect viscerally with your people at a deep level – where they make decisions.
- Invest your time effectively – with a much higher return on investment (ROI).
- Create exceptional experiences for your clients – which is fun for both of you.
- Do work that you really enjoy – for people you like to work with and who pay you.
That’s worth doing, right? Now you need to know the first step to actually identify those kinds of people (or organizations).
How would you describe your ideal client?
I hear some pretty common themes when I ask my clients to suspend their disbelief and describe an ideal client. They want clients who:
- Value the work they do
- Pay their bills on time
- Communicate effectively, and listen to the advice they give
- Respond in a timely way, with the information you need
- Tell the whole truth, and avoid surprises.
- Are easy to work with
- Can accept when things don’t go exactly as they want
- Will make decisions as logically as possible.
- Will introduce you to other ideal clients.
What else is on your list for an ideal client? Take a moment and write it down. When you’re done, get another page and describe your clients from hell. Now you’ve got a list of what you want, and what you don’t want. It’s time for the most important step – who are they?
Who has been an ideal client for you so far?
Most lawyers have had at least a few clients who they can think of as ideal, or nearly ideal.
That’s the next assignment I give to my clients: Think back through the last three years of clients and write down the names of the ones you think might have been good, great, or even ideal. I ask them to do this first from memory – without looking at their client list. These are the ones that probably came to mind when they were doing the first part of the exercise. And then to do it again with the list. Then we do the same for the not-so-ideal clients.
My clients are really smart and successful professionals. And they can struggle with these exercises because they haven’t done them before, or they haven’t gone deep enough. That’s where having an experienced guide really helps save time – and get a better result.
As a result, once the work is done, they have a list of both characteristics and names to represent them – and we’re off to the races to define their avatar, the problems they solve, and a roadmap to the practice they really want.
If you’d like to know more about how to do this, and How to Grow Your Income by 20% in 2021 check out our Free Training. We’ll be live on January 14th at Noon Eastern, and a replay will be available! Click Here to Register (or get a copy of the replay)