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Attracting the perfect client

One of the most valuable things I learned when I started out in business is how important it is to attract the right clients. It’s not always the case, but mostly in my photography and design work I find that the clients who are booking me are just the type of people I want to be working with. We’ve all had those nightmare clients – impossible to please, try to knock you down on price, take an age to pay. Here’s a few tips on how to avoid those type of clients.

Know who your ideal clients are

It can be easy to fall into the trap of getting over-excited and booking anyone who enquires, especially when you’re just starting out or when you’re going through a quiet patch. If someone isn’t the right fit for you, they will be hard work – you’ll spend more time than you originally budgeted for, and ultimately it will cost you more money. Try building up a profile of the people you’d most like to work with. How do they behave? What do they like? What’s important to them? The better you know how your ideal clients behave, the more informed you will be – this makes it easier to market specifically to those people. Instead of blanket marketing to everyone, you’ll then be able to start making more informed marketing decisions. Think about those ideal clients – “what do I need to show on my website to attract them?” “Which social media platforms are they using?”

Know why your clients want to book you

Its vital that you are as relevant as possible to the people you want to book you. I try and put my personality into as much of what I do as I can – my interests and influences are the same as the people who book me. A great example of this was the rebrand I did for wedding photographer Hannah Hall – the starting point for her rebrand was feedback from her previous clients. Every single one of the people she spoke to said that they booked Hannah to photograph their wedding because of her personality – it was her that was important to them as much as the images she had taken that they’d looked at on her website. We knew that for Hannah’s branding we had to get as much of her personality across as possible.

Know where your clients are

Stop the marketing train right now! Don’t waste any more of your money on any marketing until you are certain about where your ideal clients go when they’re looking for what you do. Paying for a beautifully designed magazine advert in a magazine that reaches thousands of people is great but if your ideal clients aren’t buying that magazine then its money down the drain. Once you’ve identified your perfect client, ask yourself about them – what are their social media habits? what magazines do they read? do they follow any blogs? What kind of social events do they go to? If you find that Instagram is the preferred platform of your clients then money spent there is money well spent. Don’t feel that because other businesses are benefiting from one thing that you need to be investing in it, always remember to stick to your ideal client.

Be genuine

Sometimes it can be easy to slip into a version of ourselves that isn’t real – often, because we are  running a business we can feel like we have a certain level of professionalism to uphold. Thats true in certain circumstances but being genuine and speaking honestly, bringing your personality out is far more beneficial to attracting the right people than being something you’re not. Being honest and open and showing that you do have quirks and imperfections can be daunting at first – “what if they’re put off by me?” Remember what we were saying about attracting the wrong clients? If people are put off by your personality or honesty then they really aren’t the right clients for you.

Be unique

Don’t feel like you have to follow the same formula as everyone else in your industry – there isn’t a right way or wrong way to run your business, because it is just that, its YOUR business. Learn to question everything, every process, everything you offer. Are you doing it that way because its the best way to serve your clients and run your business? Or are you doing it that way because thats what the industry dictates. A great example of this was Steve Jobs – he questioned everything they did at Apple, every last detail was scrutinised, why do we do it that why? What can we do to improve that? What are we offering our clients that no-one else is? Make people remember you – even if they aren’t ready to book you now, if they remember you they might in the future, or they will at least recommend you to someone who will.

There is a lot to take in there, and still I think its all quite simple really, be you and position yourself only to attract your perfect clients. Hold your nerve, be brave, bold and don’t forget to be yourself. Give some of the advice here a go and let us know how you get on.