Some years ago I signed up for some personal coaching with John Niland. I have remained on his mailing list – he regularly shares useful tips and advice for independent professionals. Last week I noted he had given another good example of why it is so important to be clear as to who are your ideal clients. It’s irrelevant that YOU may feel capable of being able to help anyone or everyone:

“To see the truth of this, just place yourself in the position of a [prospective] client. Perhaps you [as the prospect] want the services of a web-designer, or an accountant. Two candidates present themselves. The first speaks about their experience, their services, their way of working. They show you their testimonials, their references and give several guarantees about quality.

The second candidate speaks about your world, and how this is different to that of most other businesses. They show you some of the classic pitfalls that exist, perhaps even those that their generalist-competitors have fallen into. You add some of your disappointments, because you have probably hired a web-designer or accountant before. Together you explore some opportunities that are unique to your sector: for the health-professional, perhaps links to local professionals: for the general manager, contacts with national associations who have a panel of management-experts on their website.

All other factors being equal, which of these two candidates carry the most credibility for you? And if they are a bit more expensive, aren’t they worth it? Indeed, you might even expect that.”

As I have stressed previously, you will also secure more referrals if your business associates, friends and even your family are able to speak about your specialist expertise or business focus. This can be so much more powerful and worthwhile than simply being thought of as ‘just another accountant’.

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