We’ve all done the exercise. It’s the first thing you’re taught when you first start your business: Create an ideal client avatar.

This vision of your ideal client guides everything you do, including pricing (you can’t charge that single mum as much as you can the CEO of a Fortune 500 company), pain points (mum probably isn’t worried about shareholders), and even the colour of your logo.

So you spend a few hours considering things such as:

  • Age group
  • Income
  • Family status
  • Education
  • Lifestyle goals
  • Location

Maybe you even write up a nice little story about your ideal client. You give her a name, a couple of kids, a husband who just doesn’t get it, and a load of student loans. You know quite a bit about her, you think.

But you would be wrong, and if you stop there, you may be missing a huge piece of the puzzle—and losing out on the best clients because of it.

Personality Mismatch

Here’s something that’s rarely considered in the “ideal client” equation, and it’s arguably the most important part: personality.

If you’re snarky, sarcastic, fun-loving and loud, then a quiet, middle-aged mom who spends her time volunteering at the church is probably not a good fit for you. Sure, she might need your help, and she might love your products, but for one-on-one coaching, this match-up is a disaster. Either she will be uncomfortable with your style, or you’ll be miserable trying to reign in your natural exuberance.

Better to pass mom on to a coach who is a better fit for her personality wise.

Drive Determines Success

This one can be difficult to calculate from the start, but once you recognize it (or the lack thereof) it’s worth paying attention to. The client without the drive to succeed will—more often than not—only end up frustrating you both.

Better to end your relationship as soon as you see the signs of this than to waste your time going over the same material and exercises again and again with someone who simply won’t do the work.

If you look at your current and past coaching clients, you’ll begin to see patterns. You can easily look back and see what made some clients a joy to work with, while others were a struggle. Think about what those differences are, and add them to your ideal client profile. Then compare any new potential clients to this ideal profile, and you’ll never again sign on with a less-than-perfect client.


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