There’s an old saying, “If you don’t know what you want, it’s harder to get it.” The same is true for finding your ideal clients: you need to identify who they are before you can start pulling them in.

Easy to say; a little harder—but not impossible—to do if you follow an effective strategy.

Get Very, Very Specific

The more precise and detailed you can be about who you want to work with, the better. As an example, here’s a description of a portfolio company’s ideal client:

Her name is Lucy. She is 36 years old and has short straight brunette hair with big blue eyes. She’s 5’9″ and has the appearance of a fashionable career woman. Lucy is married with 2 kids (Sammy age 10 and Karen age 6) and works as a paralegal at a law firm in Westchester with an annual income of $80k. She cares about her health and appearance and enjoys yoga, biking (weather permitting), or spin classes. Lucy is active, busy, fun, smart, and social and she believes that her family should have the best. She struggles with her desire to put family first and career second and although she tries to take care of herself she often finds that she’s exhausted by the end of every day. Lucy seeks out quick and accurate information that helps her juggle a bit of pleasure (indulgence) and a balanced healthy lifestyle. Lucy looks for quick, easy, and accessible fixes because she’s always on the run.

Pretty darn specific. You have a picture of Lucy in your head now, don’t you? You can see her, right? Can you feel a bit of what she is feeling? That’s the point. Getting this detailed allows us to see Lucy in our mind. Because we are intimate with her, we know her desires, fears, and wishes…and we are able to give them to her. We make decisions about how to operate our business just for her.

You can build up your business with all the wrong kinds of people just to have work, but in the end that will backfire and hurt your reputation. Non-ideal clients are going to cost you more in time and effort as well as money. What’s more, their referrals, if any, are likely to be more non-ideal clients like them. No thanks!

Check For Readiness

Not everyone that matches your ideal category list is your ideal client, however. Once you have a clear description of your ideal client, you need to be sure they’re ready for what you have to offer. Readiness is a really big factor in an ideal client.

To determine readiness in my potential clients, I ask three probing questions:

  1. What are your top three priorities right now?
  2. What are your top three challenges?
  3. How committed are you to working on these to move your business forward?

In about 15 minutes, I can dig down deep into what’s important to this person and determine what they’re focused on. Just in the way they communicate, I’m able to identify whether this is an ideal fit or not.

If you determine the client is not a fit, that’s actually good! It means you won’t waste your time working with the wrong client and can move on to finding the client who really, really wants your help AND is ready for it.

Plan To Over-Deliver – 2 Growth Hacks

Here are two hacks that will help you fill your business with ideal clients and keep it growing.

  1. Choose one or two ideal clients and over-deliver by 200 percent of the value they’ve paid you for. Give them your best every moment you’re working for them.
  1. Find someone who is really visible and has a large following in your market. Set up a specific program for them that identifies and corrects a specific pain point and offer to gift this to them for a period of time. In return, ask them to share what you’ve done with their entire community as well as give you a testimonial.

By over-delivering and gifting, you’ll make these clients so delighted and happy that they can’t help but talk about you. Even better, they’ll be ready and willing to send you referrals which are more likely to be exactly like them: your ideal client. Within months you can have a business that is filled with nothing but your ideal clients. Working with people you like and delivering meaningful results – YUP, a recipe for success all the way around! Pretty sweet in my book!

To run a business, you need clients. To grow a really successful, in-demand business, you need the right clients–your ideal clients. Spend your valuable time on what matters with those who make the cut.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at