How to Recognize (and Serve) the Clients You’ll Love

Of course, you love everybody.

Well, almost, anyway.

And when you opened the doors to your private practice, you were bursting with excitement about all the ways that you knew you could make their lives better.

…Their world better.

So you threw up a website, printed some business cards, flipped the sign on the door to “Open!”, and waited for the crowds you knew would come.

And a few have. Maybe even more than a few. And some of them are perfect for what you offer in every possible way.

You love them. They love you.

You can help them. They can pay you. :)

But some of them, if you’re honest with yourself, really are not quite the right fit.

You like them just fine, but you have to contort yourself in some way to meet their needs.

So the relationship really isn’t quite what you want.

And you know it.

Knowing who you really want to serve is critical to being effective – and profitable – in your business.

Because – and I’m going to be blunt here – you have something to sell, a product or service that others need, that they value and are willing to pay for.

But if you’re selling to everyone,
you’re selling to no one.

When I started my private practice years ago, I was desperate to begin making money and proving to my family that I could make this work.

But I was also just so grateful that anyone would WANT to work with me, that I agreed to see just about anyone who’d come.

Today,  I am at least on my 4th or 5th incarnation of what I consider to be my own ideal client. As my business evolves, those I work with evolves as well.

And it will be the same for you.

So taking the time to get really clear about your ideal client, their needs and how you can help, is a valuable process.

And it’s one you should revisit often.

Here are seven steps I use when teaching this to my own clients.

Click HERE for a free tool you can use as you work through these steps. 

Step 1: Make Your Love List.

List five to seven of your absolutely favorite clients, those who light you up because you love them so much. Now, study that list. What do they have in common? What is it about them that makes them such a pleasure to work with?

Step 2: Define and Describe.

Describe each person on your list with as much detail as you can.

Start with the easy stuff, like their demographics (age, gender, education level, occupation, income, etc.).

Then, add the kind of labels they’d use to describe themselves. (Single mom, therapist, artist, CEO, introvert, attorney, adventurer.)

If themes begin to emerge, that’s the beginning of an outline for your unique, ideal, client.

But you’re not done yet.

Step 3: Demons and Dreads

Now for each one, think about the demons that chase them, the things that they dread. 

What keeps them awake at night? See if you can come up with two or three of their greatest doubts, fears or challenges.

Then, dig a little deeper. What’s underneath each of those dreads, really?

For example, almost every healer I know worries about earning enough income to pay her bills. If you poke around a little, though, there are always other things underneath that.

Many of my clients worry about whether they’re worth what they charge, and whether they really have what it takes to make their business work.

(They are, of course. And they do. But they don’t know that at first.)

Step 4: Dreams and Desires

Now, what are their greatest dreams and desires? What would they give anything to be, do or have, if they really thought it was possible?

Imagine that you could offer them a magic wand, one that could move them from problem to possibility.

Where would they (really, really) want to go?

Step 5: Hang Ups and Hold Outs

You know these people so well. And you know what they really want.

And yet, far too often, you can see how they get in their own way, how their own internal roadblocks hold them back.

What are their most common objections to getting the help they need? What keeps them from getting the results that they want so badly?

Once you understand that, you can help them get past it.

Step 6: Old Ways and No Ways

I work with a lot of therapists and other practitioners who can’t imagine having a successful private practice without taking insurance. That’s a limiting belief based on an industry-wide (mis)perception.

Your peeps, too, may have limiting beliefs about the way things are “supposed” to be done. They’re stuck in the old ways of doing things, and think there’s no way to do it better.

What are those limits, and how can you address them?

Step 7: Design and Deliver

This time, the focus is on you, not them.

Knowing your peeps as well as you do, what would their best selves expect to get from a service like yours?

And how will you surprise and delight them instead?

Make a list of tangible and intangible results they get when working with you. Then, design your business to deliver those results.

Knowing the client who is perfect for you,
means delivering a service that is perfect for them.

And isn’t THAT a great way to start a relationship! :)


Do you love everyone you’re currently seeing?

If not, what would you like to see more of – or less?

Who is YOUR ideal client? Who do you absolutely love working with?

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