Ideal Clients: A Deeper Dive - Christine Kane

At its core, your marketing is simply communication… and when it’s done well, it’s a high level service you provide for your ideal client. And, in order to communicate well, you have to put in the work to understand who you’re selling to and why they need or want what you have to offer.

Thus, “slow down to speed up.”

Listen in for 5 takeaways to help you understand what might not be working in your current marketing and get tips on how to help you see it as a service for your ideal clients.

We’ll clarify who your ideal client is through understanding who they are not, and I’ll share a cautionary tale about an entrepreneur who held on to a toxic business relationship for far too long.

Then we’ll touch on the topic of money and where it really comes from, the difference between knowing a client’s demographics and knowing their dreams, and we’ll talk about where you fit into the whole equation of connecting your marketing to your ideal client.

Warning: the kind of deep dive I’m suggesting requires that you dedicate some serious time and effort, but if you can tear yourself away from the cycle of reactivity and panic (CRAP cycle) long enough to put the work in, I promise it’ll pay off.

Episode Transcript

Once you start getting ideal clients and amazing clients, you have to stop being scared of letting go. You have to exit that phase of your business.

Welcome to the Soul-Sourced™ Podcast, unconventional business advice for the highly creative, secretly sensitive and wildly ambitious entrepreneur. I’m your host. Christine Kane. Let’s do this.

Okay, here we go. Welcome to episode number 24 of the Soul-Sourced™ Podcast. We are talking about ideal clients here today. And as I often do, I’m going to take this out of the conventional way of teaching this topic. And I want to give you five takeaways, that if you are at all like my clients, I think they’re going to help you understand what might not be working for you when it comes to finding your ideal client and then how to Uplevel your marketing and your mindset so that you understand how to find and how to connect with your ideal clients more effortlessly.

So there is a phenomenon that I have experienced, and then my clients tell me that they experience it, too. I call it the “Witch Factor” and that’s because way back when I started my blog, I noticed that occasionally, commenters would ask me, and it got more and more, with increasing regularity, they would ask me if I was a witch and they were half joking, of course, but they did. They asked me if I was a witch. And the reason for this was they thought I had some kind of magic hoo-doo I was activating. They accused me of watching them in their offices or in their homes. And they said they woke up needing the exact article I had just written. And as my clients get better at their own marketing, they’ve told me that they get the same accusations from their prospects and their clients who are actually very deeply grateful that someone actually gets them. And they even make jokes as they’re pulling out their credit cards. And they say those words, are you a witch? Or have you been outside my house at night watching me? And of course they haven’t.

But when you start to talk with your ideal client in your marketing, your emails, your education, your articles, that person feels understood. She feels like you get her. And you know her so well that it feels stunning to her. That someone is finally speaking her language and it is high praise, by the way, this thing I call the witch factor. And it shows you that you’re finally communicating with a human, not just announcing your wares or your stellar services or your event, or how great you are, and just assuming that this person or this business knows what you do. So if you offer a product or service or program or event or retreat, whatever it is, one of your jobs as a business owner is to understand exactly who you’re selling it to and why they need or want it and what their challenges are and what keep them up at night or what their dreams are.

You’ve probably heard the expression that people buy from people that they know like and trust. And that’s exactly what we want to do here. When it comes to connecting with our ideal client, we’re building trust. That’s all, we’re getting them to know that we get them. And this is when marketing makes your business take off. It’s what helps you move out of the, what I call the doer phase of business and move into what I call the scaler phase, phase four. And for the record, I don’t love the word marketing. I get If you don’t love it either. And that’s because it’s laden with all kinds of weird associations and strange meaning. And over time, the word marketing has become associated with a whole lot of tactics. And there are tactics, of course, but at its core, marketing is energy and it’s communicating. And in order to communicate well, you have to take the time to consider who you’re talking to, who you serve.

You consider your client more than they may have ever considered themselves in many cases. And this is why ultimately marketing is when it’s done well, a very high level of service. And let me be really clear. You can indeed have your own business and not worry about any of what I’m talking about today. You can get referrals, you can charge per hour and you don’t have to do a whole lot of thinking. And there’s an ease to that. I get it, but it does, does make for a challenge when you want to grow, or when you want to Uplevel your revenue significantly, when you initiate those kinds of intentions and set those kinds of goals, it often requires that you be willing to do some deeper work, and it can seem like hard work at first. And it is, but that’s just because it’s stretching you out of the pattern of just hoping that you’ll get more referrals like when your entire business game plan is prayer.

The problem for most business owners, is like I said, this takes time to do. And most people have set their business up so that more time makes them very stressed out. It’s what I call the crap cycle, which is an acronym. C.R.A.P Is an acronym and it stands for the Cycle of Reactivity And Panic. And this is when a business owner is running ragged. They are either way too busy to even think about their strategy, or they’re so desperate for cash that their lizard brain is the one running the business and they’ll take any client or any money that comes their way. So when you find yourself trapped in this cycle, you have to be the one to intentionally step out of it. Or you may never break that cycle and it can be uncomfortable when you first start breaking out of it. Because at first you’re going to feel like you just don’t have the time to think about this shit , cause it’s not instant cash.

But the good news is that when you do take the time, it really freaking works. I call it slow down to speed up. And what I’m going to do today, is I’m going to give you five takeaways here to show you a little bit deeper, how to do this and how to, how to think about it and how it works, not just in your marketing, but another key place, which is your mindset, because that is a huge part of ideal client clarity, is you understanding how to step out of your own limiting beliefs about it. And I get that some of this might be a little bit unconventional, but in my experience way too many marketers teach this in a way that’s just really automated and left brain and it’s lost any and all life vitality. So we’re going to add some of that back in here.

Our first principle on this episode comes from a webinar that I have done in the past called “The Five Laws of Money in Your Business.” And the first principle here is actually the second law of money. And that is that money comes through people. I know you’ve heard me say this before, but it is a foundational concept. So whenever someone talks about manifesting wealth or you see all the stock photos that have money falling out of the sky on some very beautiful women sitting at her laptop or in a Tesla and her hands are held high, she is laughing. orgasmically at her success. There’s this weird paradigm that gets set up in the back of our brains, that this is how money just works. That money kind of just appears, or it doesn’t appear or it rains down or it’s not raining down.

And at some level I get it. If you want to be metaphysical and you’ve read all the usual round of books on abundance, then you can look at money and abundance in an energetic fashion. There is some good to be done by doing that. And there is some truth to that. And because my focus is your business, I always want to remind you of something, and that is that business is people and in business, money, whether or not it’s an energy or a channel or a vibration, or however you like to think about it, money comes through people. And I know that that can sound crass, as if the only reason to serve people is so that you get their money. But in my experience that objection in and of itself tends to just be a little bit more ego, only now it’s the ego being all spiritual and keeping everything all constricted and stuck so that you don’t actually have to do the deeper work. And then conveniently, you get to claim how spiritual you are and that you are more spiritual than everyone else, which is why you don’t really have to think about an ideal client.

Not always does this happen, but I have seen it kind of operating in the background of some of the things people say. If however, you don’t want to stay in that mindset, and if you are making money from people who pay you, then what if you just let go and simply consider that your choice as the owner of your business is whether or not to show up and really see this human and really serve this human in a way that they can find you. In any business, It’s people that pay you. Money comes through people. And that’s a really good starting point.

Take away number two is that you often learn who your ideal client is by first learning who it is not. And I don’t know many people who can escape this one, all the ideal client worksheets people do. I don’t know that you can ultimately avoid finding yourself in a situation where you’re working with a non-ideal client. And this is fine. The key thing to do when you find yourself in this situation is, it’s sorta like the process that we in our Uplevel Masterminds called the experience up leveler. And all this means is that anything that doesn’t work or didn’t work, or even if they did work, it gets kind of a post-mortem, which means that all you’re doing is that you are bringing your consciousness and your awareness to the situation. And you’re letting that thing, that situation, show you why it didn’t work. And then you get to do better next time. It doesn’t have to be dramatic, though, I will admit sometimes non-ideal client scenarios do end up that way, especially if the client is really not ideal and I’ve seen it time and time again.

But if you have read my book, it’s called the Soul-Sourced™ Entrepreneur, you’ll know that I teach two kinds of intention in the opening sections of the book. The first is what I call “intention toward.” And the second is what I call “intention from” which I will simplify here by saying that some of us discover what we want, and we get that clarity by experiencing what we don’t want. The pain of those scenarios has a way of getting us very clear and clarity is a really big gift and a really great thing for business owners. Now, people who are in the starter phase of their business. And if you don’t know what I mean, by the way, if I’m talking about all these things around phases, you can go back and listen, I did a whole episode on the phases of business. You can go find that it’s, it’s a pretty deep dive into that.

But when you’re in the starter phase, which I called phase two, you are experimenting in many ways. You are experiencing everything for the first time. So you may have a general idea of your ideal client, but it’s not going to be until you work directly with clients and get that experience that you see what works and what doesn’t, and who is the best match for you and your service and everything about you. And also at first, and this is just me standing here in my role as a business coach. I think it’s important that your business makes money at first. So I think it’s really important to make sure you know how to get clients at all. And sometimes that means you might not be positive. What exactly is ideal versus non-ideal and what that looks like? So when I, I first started doing gigs when I was a musician many, many, many years ago, I played anywhere.

I did shows in diners that were in the backwoods of the mountains here. I did shows for union meetings of roofers. I did any show that anyone offered me and cause I just wanted to keep working. And that’s fine at first. And trust me, you will learn very fast what non-ideal means if you do that. Now, the problem is, is that if as you move into a new phase in your business, you have to let yourself Up-Level enough to let a non-ideal client go. Like once you start getting ideal clients and amazing clients, you have to stop being scared of letting go. You have to exit that phase of your business. So Dr. Henry Cloud calls this necessary endings, and it’s just part of the upleveling process. So I had a client and I’m going to call her Rita, she was working with me and during her first year, she started getting better and better clients and she was making more and more money.

And at each of our mastermind retreats, I kept hearing her talk about this one client. And, and he got this nickname among the whole mastermind. He was called the vitamin guy and the vitamin guy was her first big client. And he paid her, but he paid her her lower rates and he was a nightmare of a client. He was still addicted to the way she had set up her business before she got coaching with me. And yet she just kept not letting him go. And I think I heard her refer to the vitamin guy at every mastermind. Like I said, everyone started talking about the, the vitamin guy and while all of the other business owners and me, her coach, and the other coaches on my team would tell her to let him go. I think it took her a year and a half to finally realize that she had that right, and that her business deserved it. And that actually served both of them for her to let him go.

And of course, she had no regrets when she did let him go. But for some reason, many of us hold on to non-ideal or even toxic clients, because we don’t think that our business deserves more. And I am here to tell you that it does, and that you actually do non-ideal clients a disservice when you hold onto them, because what’s happening is you’re creating a relationship based in fear, not in service or love. And you think it’s because you’re doing something nice, but you’re actually doing something that is very unhealthy. So it’s worth it to move on. Once you do go through the experience of finding out who your non ideal client is.

Takeaway number three is this, it is demographics and data versus difficulties and dreams. And I’m going to say that again, demographics and data versus difficulties and dreams. And you guys know I had to do an alliteration in here somewhere because I’m a songwriter. I have to find those, those little things that keep it interesting for me. So ultimately, to be able to really understand who your ideal client is, to really hit home with your marketing and communication, you have to move out beyond just the demographic description. So it’s one thing to know, for instance, that your ideal client is a, oh, let’s say it’s a 35 to 50 year old professional gay woman in a committed partnership. And she lives in a major city. She drives a Subaru. She has a black lab, and it’s a whole other thing to know that this same woman is stressed out. She is unhappy in her professional life. She is over drinking at night because she can’t seem to manage her emotions and unhappiness. And she keeps asking herself, why am I unhappy? I have everything right?

And of course, you have to get even more specific than that in terms of how it relates to your service. But it’s really key to know those things outside of demographics. Now, the demographics and data are important. I’m not saying to ignore them. It’s, they’re important when it comes to what I call the vehicle of your marketing. And what that means is the vehicle is the way you’re marketing. So it means if you’re running Facebook ads, if you know the demographics and the data, you can pinpoint that person by knowing those things. And that’s great, but I teach, I teach this thing, I call the three V’s of marketing and there’s another V to consider in your marketing. And that is the voice of your marketing. And the voice of the marketing means that if your Facebook ad, for example, doesn’t actually connect with that person so that they feel seen, so that they feel spoken to, so that they want to know more.

You’ve just wasted a shit load of money on Facebook ads. And, or it doesn’t matter if it’s money. It could be time. It applies to blog posts and LinkedIn posts and emails and IG TV et cetera, all of that stuff. It’s all about that person, your ideal client. And do they believe and trust that you can help them solve their problems or get them toward their dreams. And if they do, that’s when they pay you. So just as an example, I mentioned the C.R.A.P Cycle before, and as I said, the crap cycle, the cycle of reactivity and panic, it’s a pattern that a business owner can get caught in when they’ve gotten trapped in what I call phase three of their business. And that is the Doer phase. And the business goes through this feast or famine. And when that person is in the famine phase, I call it the panic phase of that cycle.

She panics, she does anything she can to get any client because it’s the famine phase. She didn’t have clients and who cares? I just need money and she’ll take anybody. And she gets clients, but there’s a problem because she does get the clients. They’re often non-ideal, she’s never given herself the space to hire other people. In fact, one of the things that she says to herself is by the time I show someone else how to do it, I could just have done it myself. That’s when she enters into the reactivity phase and the feast phase where all she’s doing is what’s in front of her. She’s just trying to serve the clients and not work 24 seven. And she never ever finds the time to get strategic or clear about her business. So whenever I described this pattern in this phase of business, and I can’t see you now, so I don’t know if anyone’s out there sort of going, Oh, that’s me.

But when I’m in the room with people, I see them in the room, I see them nod their heads vigorously, or they write chats during my webinar. And they’re saying things like, Oh my God, how did you know that about me? The bottom line though, is that it’s just one example of me knowing the person that I serve. And I know that this is one of the challenges of one of the phases. Not because I know the data, like I don’t necessarily know the type of business that person runs, but I do understand the frustrations and the freak outs, all based in the fact that she has not learned another way to do it. And that’s where I step in. But she’s got to feel seen and understood first.

Takeaway number four is this, don’t leave yourself out of the ideal client equation. Now you’ve heard me say this before, but as the owner of your business, you are the heart and soul of it. You are the energy of that thing. You are the core of your business. So when someone lights you up and then they do well working with you, and then they go get results and you love your time with them. That’s worth paying attention to. I’m going to say it again. It’s worth paying attention to, it’s not a fluke. It’s not that, Oh, I got lucky and , oh, I had some success. Don’t leave your happiness and connectedness out of the equation. It doesn’t mean that you’re a diva or that you’re needy because you enjoy having a good day or a good client more often than not, this ideal client that lights you up has traits that point to a level of emotional maturity that you can actually start to seek out. And I get it. This isn’t about demographics and it’s not about dreams or difficulties. This is a whole different level we’re at right now. This is the mindset part. This is the part about your energy and what you love. And what’s a good match for you.

And here’s where we can absolutely understand some key things about an ideal client. Ultimately, your ideal client wants your success as well. They love you. They want to refer you. They want to pay you. In fact, they see paying you as a good thing as an investment in themselves. And they want to say good things about you. And of course, I’m not saying that they do this automatically. So you have to first of course, do the work and serve them. That goes without saying, but it also means that you might need to get a little proactive when you ask them for referrals or for testimonials.

So you guys have heard me ask you to go to my Amazon book page and you know, please, please, please leave a review because I get it. It’s hard to come up with what to say. And maybe you feel pressured, like you have to write prose and I’m like, no, just write a sentence. It’s not a big deal. I get that. It’s hard to take that step. And I’m not saying by the way, that you’re not, that you’re a non-ideal reader, if you haven’t done that. But, and as of today, at least 51 of you have, and that’s really, really cool. And I deeply appreciate it. Thank you very much. The point is I had to ask. I didn’t just think, Oh, they should know this so well, if they don’t, they’re, non-ideal, that’s not how it works. And by the way, this is me asking you again to please leave a review on Amazon, but I’m doing it of service. I promise I’m showing you how I have to do this so that you can see me model it for you.

Ultimately, I am your servant here showing you how to do this. But the bottom line is that even in an amazing ideal client situation, you still may have to make the ask, but your ideal client wants to do it. They may need for you to teach them how to refer or how to write a testimonial. It’s a whole other lesson, of course, but they’re going to want to do it. And they want to pay you and they see the service and value that you provide them. And of course, I know some of you have businesses where someone won’t want to publicly tell the world that having you as her therapist is the best thing ever. Or if you do something sensitive like cosmetic surgery, it can be a little harder to get those kinds of testimonials. So then we just consider that your ideal client loves you right back.

If you have people, however, who are bitter or who want discounts or perpetually don’t pay you on time or are callous toward you or dubious about everything you do, and you have to convince them of things, like let’s say you’re an expert social media service that they have reluctantly hired and you’re still trying to convince them that social media is in fact a thing, then it’s worth considering then whether or not this client is ideal. You get to be happy in your business with the people you serve, which brings us to our last takeaway.

And that’s takeaway number five, which is that no matter who your ideal client is, everyone benefits when you do the work of educating them, as well as setting expectations upfront about how how to best work with you. So the aforementioned happiness that I just talked about around working with an ideal client needs a very clear caveat. And that is that happiness doesn’t mean a sort of entitled happiness, which goes, well, I started a business and my clients are mean to me and they’re all just assholes, and they should just know how great I am. Okay. Sometimes your clients do. And sometimes they don’t. So in the social media example above, if that person were my client and they had a client who they were trying to convince that social media was a thing, the first thing I would look at is, you know, does your onboarding educate people? Does your marketing educate people? Did they self-select because they saw themselves in your content.

And if you have done ideal client work, then all of those materials, every article, every post, every LinkedIn post, every Facebook post, it educates people to see how social media does pay off in a business. So that’s going to be a first thing you want to look at. That’s going to eliminate the bastards right out of the gate. If you’ve done your job of marketing, well, you don’t have to spend your time with a client convincing them that you’re a worthy investment. And trust me, I know this sounds like an odd example, but I’ve seen this happen when someone hasn’t done that work upfront. And so make sure you’re doing that, make sure, this is all back to the other takeaways that we’ve talked about, but then it is worth it to set expectations up in advance when you begin your work with clients. I’m going to give you an example of this, because I think sometimes we think that ideal client means no one ever has any emotional issues or any challenges with us. And that’s not at all what I’m saying. This is not all just like happy, happy, joy, joy, nothing ever goes wrong.

If you’re in a service, helping people who are struggling with something, there’s going to be stuff like you’re going to have to be very good at communicating and a very good leader to them. So in my example, is this was long, long ago when I was still learning the ropes and taking on anybody and everybody, I’m a business coach, as you know, and really early on, I had a client who in the middle of our year together, she got on one of her calls with me and she just let loose. She vented at me because she had run her first 5k. She had posted this on Facebook and I didn’t comment on it. It was quite an emotional outburst with all kinds of accusations about how I wasn’t a very supportive coach and how I didn’t really care about her. And we can talk about whether or not this was an ideal client.

That’s neither here nor there, because clearly there was some unmet, emotional needs and projections going on. But after I had worked through this and with it, I had to then think a little deeply, like think more deeply about it. I had to look at the very stark fact that like it or not, this person had some kind of expectation that her business coach, that, that the role of her business coach was to follow her daily life and be all about her personal life and watch her Facebook feed on weekends. And though I do sometimes catch things that my clients do on Facebook. That’s not my role. That’s just someone turning you, whether you are a coach or a consultant or whatever, into the parent that was unavailable. So my communication, when I onboard clients,started to need to include language and clarity around what my role was, what a business coach does what I’m there for what I’m not there for.

And all of this is part of your ideal client process to really, really serve them by being clear on what your role is, so that when, or if emotional triggers happen and they do happen sometimes, you get to step back. And as I say, in my book, you access neutral because sometimes these do bring up like emotional triggers in you. You clear the effects of those emotional triggers, and then you can evaluate how that situation went off the rails, what you could have done differently in advance and how you’re going to deal with it in this moment. Because in the end, all of this talk about ideal clients, it’s all about what I said at the beginning. It’s about how we communicate with people. That helps them start to exit those triggering zones. When you set things up well, even if something gets tense, you have language that can be clear and you apologize, of course, if you did mess up on something, you make it right.

But ideal clients have a much bigger chance to stay ideal as you work with them. If you’re clear as you onboard them in terms of expectations. And that’s something that comes obviously with doing this work over and over again, and then how you communicate those expectations is also imperative because it’s not just about like making a list of all your boundaries and standards, what they can and can’t do. And I’m not your mother like that kind of stuff. You don’t go into like really dysfunctional territory. You anchor them to the, the process of like elevating them. Your marketing can elevate people to be and want to be in the best place emotionally possible.

Okay, I think I did it. Thank you for listening today and thank you for being my ideal listeners and readers and for buying my book, the Soul-Sourced™ Entrepreneur, and for leaving a review on Amazon.

See, I did it again. So my intention was that this episode would give you a, a bigger picture view of how you market and it would make you want to market because it’s a service and how you can see where your business will Up-Level and become more effortless as a result of taking this deeper approach, and of course, honoring yourself as the leader that you are. So thank you everyone. If you’re going to the Click Retreat, which is happening virtually this week for the first time ever, I will be working with you very, very soon. And if not, we’re all gonna meet up next week on our next episode. Thank you so much, everyone. And I will see you next time.