The problem with casting a wide net and attempting to attract anyone that sort of needs what you do is that sometimes it works.

Look through your client roster and tell me about your most troubling clients. The ones that came to you based on price, left and came back for the same reason, beat your staff up and always wanted one more thing. These are the ones that demanded you lower your price to meet competition and of course you threw in some extra services and tolerated their demands for customized arrangements.

These clients that weren’t a good fit kept you from charging what you’re worth or having the confidence to turn away business based on price.

Chasing the wrong prospects is the basis of all pricing problems.

One of the most important components of any marketing strategy is the clear understanding of a narrowly defined ideal client – lacking this you will always struggle to compete on price.

Below are five elements that must be considered to properly remain focused on an ideal client for your business

Target ideal

Of course the first step is understand what ideal means to you. I always get to this quickly by asking clients to consider a client that they could honestly describe in these terms – “if I have ten more clients just like that, life would be great.” We all have dream clients and if you can stop and understand what it is about them that makes them so, you’re on your way to having the definition of the ideal client.

Everyone focuses on things like demographics and these elements are important, but the biggie for me is shared behavior. Is there a common behavior, such as leadership participation in their industry trade group that signals ideal over above things like business size and need.

Share the picture

Once you have the characteristics of an ideal client you need to create as detailed a sketch as you can and come up with a description you can use publicly to help attract prospects that see you are focused on them.

Create a test

Once you start casting for ideal clients you need additional ways to make certain you’ve done your job. I own a marketing company and sometimes people are attracted to what they think I do, but in reality they aren’t a fit at all. We use a qualifying process that helps us communicate how we work best while requiring prospects to submit to a process that demonstrates their commitment to getting the solution we offer.

In a way this process presents some friction that helps keep those that aren’t serious about working in a manner that we know works at a distance. If a prospect won’t sit still for a valuable initial process they probably won’t sit still as you try to get them a result.

Demand education

Your marketing process must be designed to educate, build trust, demonstrate how your approach is different and build value for your proposition. It’s important to demand that your prospects get this education.

I know this sounds a little harsh, but the quickest path to the wrong client is to create a client that doesn’t have the proper expectation about how you work, what you expect of them, and why what you do provides so much value. It’s your responsibility to create this education and your duty to make certain that your prospects get this education. The goal is mutual fit and that takes work

Raise your prices

Do everything I’ve mentioned above then start looking the ideal prospects directly in eye and charging what you’re worth – a rate I suspect is not what you’re charging today.

Get the right client, educate them properly and say goodbye to pricing problems.

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John Jantsch

John Jantsch is a marketing consultant, speaker and author of Duct Tape Marketing, Duct Tape Selling, The Commitment Engine and The Referral Engine and the founder of the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network.
  • If price is your method of securing a client or converting a prospect – get out NOW!
    You must place a value upon yourself that your clients MUST pay to receive your services.
    If you have a genuine service, a valuable service and a fact find to create your presentation of your services – price will never be an issue.
    If a prospect uses “I can’t afford it” as an excuse, you have not done a proper fact find and have given a piss poor presentation. Remember, if a prospect gets you to compromise on price, he has is no reason to believe that you are not also compromising on the level or quality of service being granted.

  • OBVAVirtualAssistant

    I have heard somewhere that good quality come with a good price. People have to keep that in mind…Yes it can have an adverse effect too. There should be right evaluation of the product and price should be comparative not too high.

  • Pingback: Targeting the Right Client Allows You to Charge What You're Worth : The Rainmaker Blog()

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  • great post…identifying the right clients has got to be the way to go…the clearer and more specific we can be the better..I love the way you talk about building the qualification to the ideal client into the sales process…this is a dialogue on the seller’s terms

  • Alexandra Gibson

    This is so right on. One of the things that recently dawned on me (and should have dawned on me long ago) was that it’s not that we are incapable of bringing value or helping a wide variety of people, but that doesn’t mean that they are a good prospect for us. They may not have the resources, the sales cycle may be outrageously long, or we may be able to bring a lot more value to another prospect that is right in our target. I think when you think of a target as a choice and not as a limitation of skills or abilities, it helps change your mindset.