Career Navigation: Questions to help you attract your ideal clients

When you know what your ideal client looks like, it is much easier to create business development plans and messages that will truly resonate.  Here are a few questions that will help you determine who your ideal clients really are.

If someone were to ask who your ideal client is, you might jokingly respond, “anyone with a wallet,” but most lawyers know there are real dangers associated with trying to be all things to all people.  No firm or lawyer excels at everything. When you are not clear on what you do best, and thus whom you are best equipped to work for, you actually do yourself a big disservice. Your identity and your marketing message get so diluted that they don’t resonate with anyone.

That is why it is essential for lawyers to have a clear mental picture of their ideal client.

The more you zero in on precisely the type of client you want, the greater the likelihood you will attract precisely that person.  The world is overloaded with marketing messages, and one of the most difficult challenges we face is getting our message heard. The more your prospect sees a reflection of themselves in you, your web presence, your messages, the more they will pay attention to what you have to offer.

Here are actionable strategies and real-world wisdom to help lawyers set up a successful, sustainable niche business development plan.  The way to identify your ideal prospect and to develop your strategy to appeal to them is through a series of questions. Here are a few of the most important questions you can ask and answer:

  1. What fear or anxiety keeps my ideal client awake at night?  

Start by considering the age, gender, income level, and location of your ideal client.  What are the three greatest frustrations of your ideal client? The key to this exercise is specificity.  Try to drill down on what the biggest frustrations are for this individual. We have all had those terrible nights where we wake up at three AM in terror about something that might occur.  A common “fear” for a lawyer at this stage is to feel that if you decide on one group or another, you are eliminating part of your potential market. At this stage, you want to create a mental avatar, a true representation of your client.  If you operate in several niche markets or practice areas, you want to do this exercise with each one. By having a clear focus, you can still choose to accept additional side business that will come your way.

  1. What are their biggest wishes?  

If your ideal client had a magic wand, how would they use it?  What ideal outcomes or benefits are they looking for? When you talk about benefits, you appeal to your prospects’ emotions.  As the old marketing saying goes, people make their buying decisions on emotions and justify them with facts.

  1. What keywords relate to their number one problem?  

When you know what keywords your ideal clients use, you will know what keywords to include in your own marketing messages.  In doing so, you hugely improve your chances of getting in front of the right people, online, in print and in person.

  1. What do they need to believe you can do?

In their eyes, what are the factors that will contribute to their ability to meet their goals, initiatives, enjoyment of work and life?  Are you communicating that you can help them with those factors?  

  1. What do they wrongly believe?

This is a good angle to consider because when you know what myth your ideal clients have bought into, you can present yourself as a credible expert who can set them straight. 

  1. Why would they not invest in a relationship with you?

They might think your prices are too high.  They might be loyal to the firm in which they are currently working.  When you have considered why they wouldn’t go with you, you can figure out how to mitigate those objections.  

  1. What is their biggest obstacle?

If you can show that you can help your ideal client overcome their obstacle, it will be difficult for them to not work with you.

In order to create marketing materials that will motivate your prospects to engage with you and to take action, you need to have a very clear vision of who they are, of their fears, hopes and aspirations.  This is true regardless of what services you are selling to individuals or to businesses.  The best way to get a clear picture of who your ideal clients are is to carefully answer these questions.  It’s an exercise that will greatly impact and improve your business development efforts.