a man in a tie underwater, swimming toward money on a fishing hook

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Many years ago (when I was just a kid), I went fishing at the end of our dock on Lake Winnipesaukee and asked my father for advice on how to catch a fish.

He said, “Kid, just put a hot dog at the end of your hook.”

At the time, I wasn’t aware that his “sage advice” was, at least in part, due to the fact that we didn’t have any worms in the house.

As luck would have it, however, it worked. I had the advantage of catching many perch with a hot dog.

Except there was a problem…

You see, perch are traditionally small fish. At best, the ones I caught were between half a pound and one pound, but I had my sights on catching a bigger fish.

I wanted a bass – a fish that was easily double or triple the size of a perch.

Unfortunately, it was as if the bass were mocking me. They’d swim up to my hook, smell the hot dog, and swim away. They weren’t interested in a hot dog – they wanted something else.

That’s the problem many business owners face today. In an effort to get more business, they bait their hook (or in the business world, you’d say “they make an offer”) and get a few prospects in the door, but their ideal clients aren’t converting.

Over the years, I’ve had people naively tell me that direct mail is dead, email is dead, print is dead, radio is dead, social media is dead… Just about every media you can think of – someone has told me that it’s “dead” because it didn’t work for them.

Remember this key point: “Not every fish wants a hot dog.”

To attract a bigger fish (even a whale), you need different bait – and this leads us into today’s conversation…

If you’re going to attract your ideal client:

  1. It’s impossible to bait your hook correctly if you don’t know exactly what you’re trying to catch
  2. Even when you do identify your ideal client, you have a statistically improbable chance of knowing what the right bait is…

Sounds like a real problem, right?

In a moment, I’ll show you how to easily answer these problems in a way that instantly puts you in a preeminent position in your marketplace. It’s likely that not a single one of your competitors is doing what I’m about to show you…

So, let’s start with the first issue:

“It’s impossible to bait your hook correctly if you
don’t know exactly what you’re trying to catch.”

In order to figure out how to attract more of your ideal clients, you need to be able to identify who they are, what they want, what they don’t want, and how you can best serve them.

Now write this down: There’s always a smaller number of ideal clients than there are all clients.

In other words, every market has a segment of buyers that are willing to buy more from you, in vastly greater amounts of quantity and price, than the average buyer.

As Pareto’s Rule says: 80% of your profits come from just 20% of your customers.

It’s a rule I heard people talk about for years, and like many people, I brushed it off as hearsay. However, this oversight likely cost me millions because, well, the Pareto Rule is true. 80% of your profits come from just 20% of your customers.

Want to grow your business? Get more of those customers in your 20%… I’ll talk more about this in a moment.

You see, when people do business with me, there is a segment of them who will invest in everything I create… and some will pay me as much as a million dollars for my services.

So everything I do, from the writing of my book to the creation of my products, are designed to catch the attention of my next million-dollar client.

You see, that’s why everything – from the content I put out on my blog, to the emails I send out, to my messaging, etc. – is designed with one purpose in mind. To attract not thousands of little perch (which, by the way, I’m still grateful for), but to get a whale…

That’s what substantially moves in the needle.

Apple builds a culture, a tribe of people who (ideally) won’t just stop at buying a simple iPhone. They’re seeking to attract the consumer who’ll buy the iPhone, iWatch, iPad, iMac, and anything else they put out.

Now yes – by default, you’ll get many perch to take the bait, but unless you specifically target a much bigger fish, you won’t ever get the bigger fish to bite.

For me to help you create a winning marketing strategy like a do with my clients, we need to know very specifically:

Who is your product/service for, and what are the psychological triggers that are going to influence those people to take immediate action?

This formula is broken into logical and emotional components that drive the buying decision. You may have heard, “people buy emotionally and rationalize logically.”

A client of mine generated billions of dollars in process improvement for companies, and you’d think that from a logical perspective, that alone would be an easy sell…

However, as we identified our ideal client and the bait we needed to attract the big fish – it came down to a marketing message that demonstrated how hiring my client would help their “ideal client” (a decision maker who was the head of their department) look better to their bosses.

Similarly, most people – when they think of selling something like computers – would stress all the features, hard drives, etc., creating a logical argument for why they are the best. However, they’re missing 50% of the formula.

And when none of their competition understood this fact, in addition to making a logical argument, IBM knew exactly what they needed to do to attract their ideal client and epitomized the axiom of “nobody ever got fired for buying IBM.”

Similarly, FedEx understood their ideal clients were the administrative assistants behind the top executives of Fortune 100 companies, so they appealed to them with the mantra: “When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight.”

So, let’s start by identifying your ideal client…

For startup companies, this is as simple as answering the question: who do you want to serve?

Do a little research to find out who is spending the most money on the product/service that you’re offering, and you’ll be able to build a solution to best meet the needs of those people – to get them the greatest advantage and benefit possible.

One such resource can be found at http://www.JustMediaKits.com – a database containing thousands of magazine media kits that details the demographics of their readers, giving you further insight into who they are and what interests them.

Let’s use Predictable Profits for example.

As I flipped through many industry-related magazines like Entrepreneur, Success, etc., looking for what I believe to be a “market match” with my services, I came across Inc. Magazine.

The median age is 42…

Male/Female ratio is 67/33…

77% are business owners…

63% are risk takers…

They have an average net worth of $1.1 million…

…And so forth, giving me more detailed demographics on my ideal client.

Then I dive into the magazine and look for images (what they look like), advertisements (what they’re interested in), and comb around on their blog looking for popular content, topics, frustrations, etc.

…Which all allows me to better paint a picture of my ideal audience and what interests them.

For existing companies, this exercise is equally powerful.

Remember what we talked about earlier: 80% of your profits come from 20% of your customers.

The quickest way to double, triple, and even quadruple your business is to get more of these customers.

Think about it… If you’re doing a million dollars now, with 20% of your customers providing 80% of your profits… If all you did was attract just 5% more of your ideal clients, your sales would instantly go up by $40,000!

How much do you think it will really take for you to attract a mere 5% more of these ideal clients?

Well, throughout this article and the others I have in store for you, you’ll see how easy it really is…

Once you’ve identified who’s spending the most money with you, look for some common patterns:

  • What products/services are they buying from you?
  • How did they find out about you?
  • What problem are you solving for them?
  • Why do they continue to do business with you?
  • What does your product/service mean to them?
  • If applicable, what industry are they in?

The more information you gather from them, the better.

I’ll say it again: the more information you gather about your ideal clients, the better.

In my own company, I’ve gone so far as to put all the common characteristics on a mind map. I’ve got information about their demographics.

For example, one indication of my ideal client – demonstrating they have an open-mind and are committed to their goals – is that they tend to invest in personal/professional growth products.

They also love their customers and want to serve them at the highest level. They have a positive, “can-do” attitude. They’re techno-literate (in other words, they know how to use a computer).

They value trust and transparency.

They love marketing and are obsessed with growing their businesses…

Of course there’s more, but you get the idea.

Then we talk about the common “enemy,” or the common thing that drives my ideal clients nuts. It’s things like people who make excuses, “in the box” corporate executives, and companies who are “just in it for the money” instead of really creating value for their prospects.

I go into their frustrations – the types of fears, worries, and concerns that keep them up at night.

This is important because, if I’m going to serve them at the highest level, I want to make sure I alleviate their frustrations to the best of my ability – within the context of my product or service.

My ideal client has frustrations like feeling they have to work without ever taking a break or a vacation, because if they did – they’d feel like their business would fall apart.

It’s also issues like customers being unable to find them, fighting price wars, getting poor repeat business, wasting time and money on advertising that fails, and feeling like their business is stuck.

Perhaps you can relate to all or part of that…

I’ve identified their primary desires and added an image of my ideal man and woman. Heck, I’ve even given them names: Erin and Justin.

I have a crystal clear picture of my ideal client – and you need to have one too.

Now, on to point #2…

This is often where I see many entrepreneurs get stuck. #2 reads:

Even when you do identify your ideal client, you have a
statistically improbable chance of knowing what the right bait is…

Robert Cialdini, Noah Goldstein, and Steve Martin wrote a book called: “The Small BIG: Small Changes That Spark Big Influence,” and they managed to prove, scientifically, that the longer you know someone, the less likely it is that you’ll be able to identify their preferences.

Let’s face it: if you’ve been in business for 10 years, you’d think you’d have a pretty good understanding of who your customers are, right?

According to Cialdini’s study, though, people had an accuracy rate of only 36% when they predicted the preferences of people they’d known for a decade.

In other words, you are NOT your customer, and you can’t assume you know them either.

In a million years, I never would have guessed that the majority of my one-on-one coaching clients say the reason they continue to do business with me is that I help them become better versions of themselves.

Now, being a bit egotistical, I thought it was because they believed I was the top expert in growing a small business…

However, while they did believe I was qualified, it was because I was the best at helping them become better versions of themselves – and in turn, helped them create better versions of their customers.

As one client said: “Charlie, working with you puts a different spring in my step, and it’s because of our work together that I can’t wait to go to work in the morning.”

So, what does that tell you about my ideal client? For one, it tells me that they put a high value on someone who helps them feel awesome.

Of course, this is just one key ingredient that goes into my overall message to attract my ideal client. There’s more that goes into the entire formula for persuasion.

You need to know what the right bait is…

This is the nucleus of your entire marketing strategy. It guides you on what headlines to write, what article topics to share, what products/services to offer, etc.

When you’ve nailed the messaging, you’re attracting more of your ideal clients effortlessly, the sales cycle is shorter, the conversion rate is higher, you get more repeat business, your average customer value skyrockets, and your business is one step closer to dominating your market.

Take the time to do this exercise, and when you go, I think you’ll agree that it might just be the most valuable use of your time since you started your business.

what now?

Continue reading for more resourceful information.