Build better relationships with your clients: Discover your client profile

Sometimes you have to go deep. If you want to develop a long-term approach to building solid relationships with your clients, you have to invest some time in developing your ideal client profile. When you take the time to really look at your past clients - both successes and failures - you’ll discover the types of clients you attract, those with whom you work best, those that are most challenging, and the best strategies for attracting more clients that align with your client profile.

It’s easiest if you start with a spreadsheet that you create from your contacts list. That way, you’ll already have names, addresses and phone numbers on the list and you won’t forget anyone. Add demographic information. Include the subdivision or neighborhood name in which they bought, a separate entry for where they sold, age, educational background, alma mater, industry, employer, income level, likes, dislikes, lifestyle preferences, hobbies, interests, or any other details. Be as complete as possible. How did they find you? Have they referred you to someone else? Ultimately, what made them choose you to represent them? This could be a long process if you’ve been in business for a while, but take your time and be as complete as possible. In the end, you’ll be looking for common denominators that you might not have noticed before. Begin to think about ways to market to those while you’re progressing.

Ask your clients questions. Either have them fill out a survey, or better yet, conduct conversational interviews (and reconnect with them) either in person or over the phone. Ask why they paid for your services, or rather, which part of your value proposition appealed to them. Why did they choose you over a competitor? What do they think about your competitors?

Next, take a closer look at your website. Use all of the available data you can to get a complete picture of people who visit it. There are lots of online tutorials to show you how to set up Google Analytics to help you discover client behavior on your site and you should take advantage of them. You’ll find out what draws people to your site, what makes them linger on certain pages, and just as importantly, what doesn’t.

Similarly, use Facebook Analytics and LinkedIn Company Page Analytics to monitor your social media. Who is following you, how are they interacting with your social media presence? Are there some types of posts that do really well? Look for the levels of engagement (reactions, likes, shares, follows, unfollows, blocks) of your individual posts and see if you can identify trends. Look for correlations between the demographics of your social followers and those in your database. Are there common threads?

Finally, use your database with LinkedIn. Connect with clients to see where they currently work and have worked in the past, gone to school, etc. Look for common connections. Are there introductions you could make between clients? Or commonalities that you didn’t notice that might indicate a niche market?

Now that you’ve got a better focus on who is in your client profile, think about those A list clients – those who have referred you in the past or who are likely to refer you in the future – are they the ones most likely to be engaging in your marketing efforts? If not, how can you tweak your messaging to be more appealing to them? What has worked well with them in the past that you could repeat or refresh this year?