Written by: April Vargo
Whether you're a new business or one that's fairly seasoned, finding your ideal customer is a never-ending quest. It can be quite the challenge to find the person that looks at your products or services and says, "yes, you're who I've been looking for!" You're ideal customer will change as you and your business change. The person you thought you were looking for at the beginning may not be the person you're looking for now or even in the future as you grow.
I liken this idea to meeting friends or dating. You're on the search for someone you can connect with, someone you want to spend time with and eventually someone you want to grow with.
This might sound funny, you're not planning on going out with your customer on a Friday night for cocktails, or taking the leap that leads down that aisle of foreverness. However, don't you want your customer to be with you for the long haul? To be passionate about your product or service? Someone who wants you to succeed because that means they can keep getting that item or service they love so deeply? The answer is YES!
You might be sitting here saying, but how? I've looked everywhere, put out every Facebook Ad, my Instagram is on trend, I pass out business cards and network like it's my job.....And I'm sitting here with no one, or even worse, customers I can't stand! My friend, you're looking for the wrong person, in the wrong places...it's time to play a little hard to get - stop throwing yourself at everyone you see. It freaks people out, and you're attracting the wrong type of person.
My ideal customer has changed significantly since the opening of my business. Honestly, I was that person who said, "Everyone is my customer...I'm global....who wouldn't want this!" I did the whole, "Hey I own a business, let me tell you about it, you're gonna love it!" Definitely came on too strong, to the wrong people, and spent a lot of time wondering where are my serious people? Um, hello, I hadn't identified serious people, I identified people. It was time to make a change.
I've done a lot of experimenting these last two years, and am finding my people, the one's I've always dreamed about, and the one's who make my job exactly what I always hoped it would be. I started to realize a few things....you're not everyone's cup of tea, you can be global without being the whole world, and the person you want to attract has to possess very particular qualities.
About a year ago I picked up the "Business Boutique" by Christy Wright. She runs a successful coaching company for female entrepreneurs. I heard her speak and picked up her book to continue to get motivated and focus my ideas. I'm not going to lie, I've been reading it in stages, as my schedule doesn't always allow me to sit down and read. She has this amazing section in her book about putting a name and characteristics to your ideal customer to help you get a solid idea and really identify your target market. (This is kind of like my dating analogy, what girl doesn't have her list of qualities for her future Prince Charming?)
I named my ideal customer "Sophia." The names sounds sophisticated, international, confident, and fashionable - qualities, I personally admire. Upon further thought, I put a list of qualities I want my idea customers to possess....I found they were:
- Tech comfy
I realized that my current students and their families possess these qualities. I have students who are international, always on the road, incredibly driven and goal-oriented, always have a smile on their faces, and love learning in a slightly unconventional manner.
The truth is, I don't want to be another run-of-the-mill music teacher. I don't want to accept just any student who walks through my door...why, because not all of them want to be there, or because some of them are a lot of work. Every business owner, unfortunately knows / had a customer who will work them to the bone, are never satisfied, and don't last the long haul. You end up putting a lot of work for little outcome, while not being able to focus your attention on where it really matters - your customers who want to be there.
The truth is, by identifying your ideal customers you're difficult ones aren't allowed in, they're not attracted to you, and you'll find you don't really give them the time of day anymore. Now you get to spend the time where it's absolutely necessary, and with the people that matter the most.
What I have found is that I have connected with my customers, have become friends with some of their families, have been invited into their lives, and get to watch them grow / succeed. I give and receive positive emails....I want to stress this - Positive Emails - the one's where you get feedback on the difference you're making, how happy they are, a hurdle they just overcame, or that they are simply glad they found you. I can't stress the amazing impact that this has made on both me personally and the way I continue to run my business.
I don't have a bad day, I don't have bad lessons or students I cringe to work with. I get students who I absolutely adore, I look forward to working with them, and genuinely want to see them succeed. The fact that I get to play a small role in their life is incredibly rewarding.
This is my dream come true. It took me a while to find my people. Upon finding them, I get to continually tweak my business, my searches, and get in front of the right people.
Take some time to identify your ideal customer, get to know them, make those lasting connections, and watch your business continue to grow with people you genuinely care about.