Many business people, particularly in the early stages of their business, are so intent on getting a customer that they accept anyone. But not all customers are created equal. Generally only a small percentage of your target niche are customers that are beneficial to your business.
 
It’s most often the case that your optimal customers, which may represent only 20% or less of your customers, actually subsidize the service you provide for non-optimal customers. In other words, if you didn’t have your optimal customers, you would lose money. Or conversely, if you only had optimal customers, your profit would skyrocket.
 
Here are some attributes of optimal and non-optimal customers. Maybe when you look at these certain customers will come to mind!
 
Optimal customers: 

  • Pay on time;
  • Pay a higher price;
  • Spread word of your good service;
  • Stay a customer for a long time;
  • Purchase frequently;
  • Are easy to deal with.

Non-optimal customers:

  • Demand a lot of your (non-billable) time;
  • Are delinquent payers;
  • Don’t appreciate your service;
  • Shop around based on price;
  • Are unpredictable and difficult to service.

The challenge then becomes how to attract more optimal customers and less (none!) non-optimal customers. Here’s a 6-Step Plan to maximize the number of optimal customers you have.
 
STEP 1: Clearly DEFINE the characteristics and attributes of your optimal customer.
 
Firstly you must know who your optimal customers are. You need to know as much as possible about them. Only by defining their unique characteristics can you then a/ explore ways to get more like customers; and b/ exclude customers not exuding these characteristics.
 
STEP 2: TARGET your optimal customers.
 
Your optimal customers may only comprise a small sub-section of your niche. Generally though, they’re harder to convert, but much more loyal and lucrative when you do.
 
Now that you know their characteristics, you need to target them. You need to know information such as: 

  1. Where they physically reside/work;
  2. What journals, papers, websites, etc they read in common;
  3. What their common problems, challenges, motivations are;

STEP 3: Structure a unique sales process to CONVERT them.
 
Your optimal clients often require: more information; more credibility; more time; more trust to convert.
 
To land the big fish, you need special equipment. The sales process you use to attract and convert your non-optimal customers most often will not work to convert your optimal customers. That’s why your optimal customers only comprise a small percentage of your customers.
 
It’s most likely you’ll find optimal customers slow to convert, particularly early on. You’ll need to dedicate 80% of your marketing time and effort to converting them. And your follow up process may extend across numerous contacts over several months.
 
STEP 4: OVERDELIVER.
 
You need to be an expert in your niche to convert and retain optimal customers. This means becoming an expert; espousing that you’re an expert; and delivering as an expert. And to augment this process you should strive to constantly DELIVER MORE than your prospect is EXPECTING.
 
You can do that by providing an extra service at no cost; giving away a voucher for a free session with another professional that you might have a JV agreement with; or providing valuable information that will assist them tackle common obstacles that relate to their lives.
 
STEP 5: Create impetus through ENDORSEMENT.
 
The point here is that if you want to light a rocket under your sales, you’ve got to go beyond selling products and services. You’ve got to sell a social identity.
 
Use your existing optimal customers to attract others. People of similar stature, trait and status gain credibility amongst their peer group. Use testimony and endorsement from existing optimal customers to build your credibility and trust with prospective optimal customers.
 
STEP 6: Be PERSISTENT.
 
Many businesses chase the big fish, but only a very small percentage actually work with them. One of the main reasons is lack of persistence. If you want to be successful you have to be more persistent than your colleagues chasing the same target.
 
IMPORTANT…
 
Everything you do reflects on your service and brand. To attract, convert and work with optimal customers, you need commitment and consistency. Remember how to apply the Rule of Commitment and Consistency: 

Once someone has made a decision they stubbornly defend it. You can use this self-validating process to up-sell and cross-sell additional products and services.
 
Soon after a sale, ask for referrals. Have a structured, automated system to ask clients for referrals within a short timeframe of them buying.
 
Carefully structure your selling strategies and scripts to invoke incremental “yeses” to taking up your service.
 
Act consistently. Everything you say, do, deliver and imply must be consistent. The moment you deviate in consistency you’ll lose credibility.
 
Once you finish running a session with a client or group of clients, be sure to reset a date and time for the next session before you finish. Clients will be far more committed to your services at time of delivery, and this is the best time to ask for future commitments.

Finally, every single piece of communication you have with them needs to be of the highest quality, consistently exuding your high quality service and brand.