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#144: Would You Know a Perfect Client If One Fell Into Your Lap?

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Thursday, October 01, 2009
I know I am supposed to define my "perfect client" and then they will magically appear asking for my help. I just don't buy that the universe unfolds according to my whims. Is this really worth the effort?

It depends on to what extent you think the universe is responsive to you at all. So you don't believe wishing brings good things. However, you would be hard pressed to refute the truth in the adage that luck is when opportunity meets preparedness. In such a case, your perfect clients may be all around you but you just don't recognize them. Without the exercise to say what makes them more or less attractive, they all look the same.

What makes a difference to you? The complexity of their problems? The size of the organization? The size of your fees? The level in the company of your client sponsor? The client's geographic proximity to your office? The length of the engagement? The opportunity for follow on work? The people, of either the client or your own team, that you work with? The opportunity to learn something new? These are all candidates for defining a perfect client.

Tip: If you have never done this before, it can be a little daunting. Start with your past clients, arraying them against a list of criteria like those above. Score them from 1 to 5 on each attribute. Weight the attributes (e.g., learning is twice as important as fees) if you like. Score your clients and see if the ranking feels right to you or not. Were the highest ranked clients your “favorites?” Revise the model as needed. Once you feel comfortable, evaluate prospects by this protocol and start looking for clients with attributes that naturally have the greatest weights.

© 2009 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  client development  customer understanding  market research  marketing  proposals  prospect  sales 

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