Let’s say you’re relatively new to your business and you want to create a message that resonates with your ideal client.

Or, you’ve been in business for a while and are creating a new service or offering. Either way, your first step towards creating an offer that makes your ideal clients jump at the chance of working with you is to identify what exactly your ideal client needs and wants.

Just like big companies who do extensive market research before launching a new product, I recommend getting out there and interviewing as many people who are experiencing the problems you want to address as possible. This will help you craft an offering that best meets your clients’ needs and talk about what you do in a way that inspires them to work with you.

Let’s prepare to interview your ideal client, shall we?

“Get out of the building!” —Steve Blank

The number one reason most startups fail is that they have great ideas they think will sell, but they don’t talk to their ideal clients before putting on the market. They don’t make sure that what they’re offering is aligned with what their ideal clients need and want.

Because of this, I urge you to “get out of the building” as soon and as often as you can. Get out there and start talking with your ideal clients. Start gathering the answers to several important questions, including:

1. What are their current problems?
2. What solutions do they most desire?
3. What steps do they think they need to take from their problems to their solutions?
4. What steps do you think they need to take from their problems to their solutions?
5. What words do they use to describe their situation?
6. Where can you find large numbers of your ideal clients?

Pay attention to who’s an ideal client, and who’s not.

The person you’re talking with is only an “ideal client” if they have the problems you address and want the solutions you help your clients attain. While you can gather useful information from anyone, your ideal clients’ opinions and words matter most. Although someone you interview may fit the demographic you serve, you may not know if they’re also experiencing the problems you help solve until you start talking to them.

You can be upfront at the beginning of the interview and say, “I’m creating a program for DEMOGRAPHIC PSYCHOGRAPHIC who struggle with PROBLEM, and I’m trying to interview people like this. I reached out to you because you fit the demographic, though of course, I don’t know yet if you’re experiencing these challenges. Everything in this interview is completely confidential and stays between us, and if you don’t want to answer any question, please let me know that. I’m just going to ask you a bunch of questions, and I’m grateful to you for answering as honestly as you can. How does that sound?”

If you discover that they don’t have the problems you address, you can ask them what they are struggling with and see where that takes you. You never know what doors that might open. Everyone has challenges, and almost everyone appreciates a warm listener to share their struggles with. Make sure also to ask if they have any friends or family who they think fit into your ideal client category.

Questions to Ask:

Below are a bunch of questions that I recommend asking your interviewees. Enjoy!

Their Problems & Desired Solutions

• What are the three most significant challenges you’re facing right now?
• What is the most significant improvement that you could make in your life right now?
• If I could wave a magic wand and grant you any wish (related to what you offer), what would you ask for?

What Else They’ve Tried

• Are you actively looking for help for these problems? If no, why not?
• If you’ve tried to solve your problem, what has worked for you? What hasn’t?
• What else have you thought about trying but haven’t? Why not?
• Why do you think this problem is so hard to solve?

How Interested They Are

Very briefly share about the offering you’re creating again. Ask them, on a scale from 0 to 10, 0 being entirely uninterested to 10 being extremely interested, how interested they are in learning more about what you’re creating. Then, ask why they chose that number.

Crafting Your Program

If they’re actively experiencing the problems you address and are interested in what you’re offering, ask them these questions:
• What do you think you need to do to solve this problem?
• What questions do you wish someone would answer for you about your problem?
• What would you want to learn if I built a program around this?
• What would make you excited to enroll in a program to solve this problem?
• How much would you be willing to pay to solve this problem? (Don’t get attached to their answers. This is merely information gathering.)

Find Your Ideal Client in Large Numbers

If they are your ideal client, they may be able to point you in the direction of where you can find more people like them. To do so, ask the following questions:
• What blogs or news services do you read?
• Where do you hang out?
• Where do you network?
• What associations do you belong to?

Before you end the interview, be sure to ask:

• Is there anything else that you would like to share with me?
• Would it be okay with you if I follow up with you with any additional questions I have?
• Can you think of two other people who might be good for me to speak to with? Would you be willing to connect me with them?

Interviewing Key Referral Sources

It can also help to talk with people who are likely to interact with a lot of your ideal clients. Other practitioners may have a lot of helpful insights, and once they understand, like, and trust what you do, they’ll likely be able to refer clients to you.

You can ask these folks most of the same questions as I wrote above, only with the perspective that you’re asking about people they could refer you to.

Get out there now.

It may seem daunting to do these interviews, but this is one of the most important steps towards creating an offer that makes a difference and sells.

You cannot create in a bubble. To be successful, you must be willing to fall on your face and talk to people before your message is perfect. This is the only way to see if your message works. People who get clients are the ones who put themselves out there over and over again.

If you need support putting yourself out there, I invite you to check out our business coaching services. It would be an honor to support you!

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