A question I ask often is “how well do you really know your customers?”. Surprisingly most business owners only have a vague understanding of who their existing customers and clients really are. With some prompting, we normally get to the some basic demographics, but not much more.
Whilst knowing the demographics is important, knowing the values and beliefs of your clients is even more important in my opinion. This helps us to not only understand them better
For example, the people that I get the best results with when I’m coaching them could best be summarised by the following twelve characteristics:
- They have very high levels of integrity.
- They have very strong and clear values.
- They are committed to being the best version of themselves.
- They respect others (and are respected by others).
- They want to create not copy other peoples stuff.
- Curators of valuable content in their space.
- They are committed to continually growing.
- They are compassionate.
- They are hardworking.
- They are connected to their community – or at least they want to be.
- They lift those around them.
- They understand their value and worth.
I call this “My Ideal Clients Value Set” and I use it for ensuring that I align with my clients. Whenever I work with someone who doesn’t tick all twelve of these boxes, it’s always has a less than satisfactory outcome.
My challenge to you is to define what characterises your perfect client. And then take a step back and look at anyone you are having challenges with and see where the alignment breaks down. I guarantee there will be a few crosses in your list.
Go one step further and actually publish your “Idea Clients Value Set” – tell people that these are the characteristics of the people you do the best work with. Get them to self evaluate. Most businesses will take money from anyone with a pulse, and that’s exactly what they get. And when the relationship breaks down, as it will, you get the blame, creating a raving critic of you and your business. Someone who actively tells the world you are lousy at what you do.
In a world struggling with trust and transparency, business owners need to step things up. It’s time for integrity – and only working with people who fit your “Ideal Clients Value Set” is one way to ensure that you are never compromised. And if your personal values list doesn’t live up to what you expect of your clients, you will soon be found out, like so many weekend gurus are discovering.
So when you are asked “how well do you know your customers?”, look deeper, think beyond their age, sex, earnings and think more about their values and beliefs. If you target the clients who will fit with you, share your values and beliefs, you will grow a much stronger, more sustainable business where great clients recommend their peers, with the same value set as their own, to your business. That has to be a great way to build a beautiful business.