Searching for ideal clients raises several questions. Does that person exist? How often do marketers’ dreams come true?
Joe Apfelbaum suggests answers. The author, speaker and entrepreneur is chief executive officer of the business-to-business digital marketing agency Ajax Union. He specializes in sales, marketing, self-improvement and — interestingly for the times — comedy.
Chelsea Krost hopes not to become a punchline. Like many others who make their living through marketing and branding, the millennial expert, global speaker and LinkedIn instructor has thrown her sights online.
During her #MillennialTalk Twitter chat, Krost and Apfelbaum talked about their continuing quest to attract and convert the elusive perfect client.
Drawing new coaching clients online is quite an adjustment, particularly for businesses previously based on in-person face-to-face interactions.
“It does not have to feel less personal when you are meeting people online,” Apfelbaum said. “It’s the new normal. Use video chat, and build a real relationship.
“Too many people are trying to get clients instead of trying to add value to a specific target market,” he said. “Do not try to help everyone. Instead, help your target market. Be specific and come in with just adding value. The more value you add, the more clients you will get.”
This takes a whole new business mindset.
“When building relationships with a specific group of people, think geographic, demographic, psycographic, and go deep instead of wide,” Apfelbaum said. “Go from online to offline. Build relationships the good ol’ fashioned way. Get on the phone. While people are off work but not on vacation, it is so much easier to just pick up the phone and make some calls.
“All too often, coaches want to get paid before they add value,” he said. “The best coaches just start coaching. When your clients have to talk to you, that’s when they start paying you.”
Taking it to social
Krost describes her activities as “all about less email and more phone calls. They save time and are way more effective.”
These are her keys to attract new coaching clients:
- Have a branded and active presence on social media.
- Know who your target client is.
- Have a clear offer — service or product — description.
- Validate your expertise.
- Craft the right consumer journey map.
“Online coaches have to consider building their personal brand,” Krost said. “As the coach, you are your best marketing tool. Your personal presence and digital footprint is a better lead generator than any paid ad.”
The ideal coaching clients are coachable, not set in their ways.
“Find out where your dream clients are spending time,” Apfelbaum said. “It might be on specific Facebook groups. It might be on LinkedIn. Make your list and reach out.
“It’s not about finding dream clients,” he said. “It’s about building relationships with real people and making a real difference in their lives. Start impacting lives.”
Searchers have to cast wide nets.
“These real people are everywhere,” Apfelbaum said. “Speak to your network, and describe your client to them. Everyone has people they can introduce you to when you are specific enough.
“One great strategy to find dream clients is to have a podcast,” he said. “Interview people for your podcast. Learn everything about them — or listen to podcasts that already interview your dream clients.”
Beyond first impressions, dig into details.
“Identify client demographics, psychographics, needs, pain points and goals to narrow in on what social channel or platform to be most active on,” Krost said. “Learn how to speak their language.
“People are so quick to talk, talk, talk, but the secret is really to sit back, watch and listen,” she said. “Then prioritize strategy, and implement.”
Apfelbaum and Krost also talked about putting stories first and sales second, marketing budgets, making the most from LinkedIn and other ways to catch the ideal client in the rest of their conversation.