As business owners, we spend a lot of time talking about our ideal clients. If we’ve developed our user personas/client avatars (or whatever you want to call them) well, we should know lots about them. Why? Because knowing our ideal clients well allows us to make sure that we’re speaking directly to them, and doing everything we can to convince them to buy from us. But what about your non-ideal client? How much time do you spend thinking about them?

When you speak to everyone, you speak to no-one.

Meredith Hill

Who is your non-ideal client?

Our non-ideal client is the person or people that we don’t want to work with, and it’s important to spend some time thinking about what characteristics or attributes would put someone into this category. For example, your non-ideal client might be someone who earns less than a certain amount (this is particularly pertinent if your business relies on people having disposable income), or fall into a particular gender or age group. Equally, someone might become a non-ideal client based on outlook or even personality. For example, a non-ideal client for a clothing boutique is someone who engages with your brand regularly, but who, for whatever reason, has no intention of buying.

Why do we need to identify them?

It might seem strange to think about people we don’t actually want to work with, but actually, it can be an incredibly useful exercise. Here are a few reasons why:

  • Messaging – they help us to make sure we are focused on engaging with the kind of customers that we do want
  • Productivity – they make sure that we have an ‘internal filter’ for where we apply our energies. For example, taking on work with non-ideal clients takes our focus away from the ideal ones
  • Conversion – when we focus our efforts in talking to our ideal clients, the leads we generate are better qualified, leading to a higher conversion rate.

How to filter out your non-ideal client

Nobody is saying that you can’t reach out to, or even work with your non-ideal client, ever. But once we know who they are, it’s important to manage any approaches they might make so that you can concentrate on their antithesis! But equally, it’s important that any potential client that comes forward has a good experience. So how do we achieve that?

  1. Be crystal clear in your messaging to make sure you attract customers that you do want, not those that you don’t
  2. Introduce them to others who might be better placed to help. For example, if they need a VA rather than a consultant, who can you signpost them to?
  3. Pre-qualify your leads – what can you do to find out whether they are serious?
  4. Don’t be afraid of saying ‘no’. If someone isn’t right for you, probably you wouldn’t offer them your best service anyway.
  5. Be honest with yourself – if a potential customer just isn’t connecting with you, that’s ok!

Check in with your ideal AND non-ideal clients

We talk often about how important it is to check in with your ideal clients on a regular basis. Check that you’re meeting their needs; check that your assumptions are playing out on your social media and website analytics, and so on. But it’s also important to keep an eye on your non-ideal clients too. This might seem a bit odd given what you’ve read so far in this blog. BUT things change. Circumstances change. And just because someone isn’t your ideal client today, doesn’t mean that they might not become one in the future!

And while our messaging should (rightly) be targeted at our ideal clients, our customer service should be targeted at everyone. Everyone should have a good customer experience when they engage with our businesses, whether they are our ideal clients, or not.