Why should you focus on getting your ideal client? Do you know how to attract your ideal client? How can identifying and attracting your ideal client benefit your business?
In this ‘Five Questions for Private Practice’ series podcast episode, Joe Sanok speaks about how to get more ideal clients in your private practice!
In This Podcast
In this podcast series, episode 4, Joe Sanok talks about how to attract your ideal clients, why you should focus on them and how to create a business avatar.
Why Should You Focus On Getting Your Ideal Clients, Instead Of Just Seeing Everyone?
- When you have an ideal client, specialty, or niche you can charge more.
- Specialists can always be seen as a generalist, but not the other way around.
- Your ideal client will recommend other ideal clients.
- The brand of your practice will be easier to understand when you have a focus.
First, why should you focus on an ideal client instead of everyone? Think about every domain in your life:
- Want to go out to a restaurant tonight? Sure, what are you thinking? No one says, let’s just go to a restaurant, they say, “Im in the mood for…” That’s a specialty.
- Want a new pair of shoes? Well, are they running shoes, dress shoes, slippers? That’s a specialty.
- Want to go to the doctor? You get the point.
All of our life is made up of specialties. People have said, “I do plumbing for houses. I make dress shoes. I make great Indian food.” Maybe not all at once, could you image a plumber who is also a shoemaker chef?
Knowing who you want to attract is essential to growing a business quickly.
First, create a “business avatar.” A “business avatar” is a fictional, but accurate ideal client. Give this person:
- A name
- List of issues
- Who they are connected with
- Who is in their family
Go a step further and find a picture online of what you picture them to look like.
Pain and Solution
Next, figure out what they have as a pain and what they want as a solution.
Here are some phrases that might help you with your focus:
- We help [insert pain here] to have a better [insert outcome here]. For example, “We help couples who stopped having sex after the kids were born, to have a better connection with one another to find intimacy again.
- If you are [pain] then we’ll help you create a plan for [outcome.] For example: If you are sick of getting calls from your son’s principal, we’ll help you create a plan for better behavior at school and home.
- We’ve been helping clients who [pain] to [outcome] since [est. date]. For example: We’ve been helping clients who have trouble sleeping to rest soundly and have more energy since 2009.
When you’re focused on who you want to attract, you can charge more and see the exact client you want to see.
- How Much Time Should I Spend on My Private Practice? Five Questions for Private Practice Series 1 of 5 | PoP 366
- Should I Take Insurance in My Private Practice? Five Questions for Private Practice Series 2 of 5 | PoP 367
- How do I Set My Rates In Private Practice? Five Questions for Private Practice Series 3 of 5 | PoP 368
- The Five Most Important Questions for Private Practice: An Authoritative Guide
- How to Kill It In Private Practice Masterclass
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Meet Joe Sanok
Joe Sanok helps counselors to create thriving practices that are the envy of other counselors. He has helped counselors to grow their businesses by 50-500% and is proud of all the private practice owners that are growing their income, influence, and impact on the world. Click here to explore consulting with Joe.
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This is the Practice of the Practice podcast with Joe Sanok, session 369.
I’m Joe Sanok, your host and welcome to the Practice of the Practice podcast. I love doing this podcast. You know, when I have time that I make to do this podcast and I look at my schedule the day before, I’m always so excited to see it. One thing I do for my own productivity is the night before, usually, like around dinnertime, not so, it’s like right before bed, I look at my schedule for the next day and I see, are there things that I need to do to prep so the morning goes smoothly?
Just like how I have my kids get their clothes out for the next day, I want to make sure that I’m all set for the next day. So, if I need to bring extra equipment and so, for example, tomorrow I’m going to be doing some YouTube recording, so, I need to bring some extra equipment into the office because sometimes I do that at home, sometimes I do it in the office. So, I need to bring that in.
Do I need to figure things out? What do I do to kind of mentally prepare for the day? And you know, when you do that you kind of subconsciously starts to work through things. You start to have ideas, “Oh I could talk about this,” or “What if I kind of covered that? It really makes it a lot easier when you do that little bit of prep before your day. And I know a lot of you are going after kind of big ideas beyond just your practice.
And today we are going to be talking mostly about how do you get more ideal clients in your private practice. But you know, I want to make sure that you’re thinking big. Even if you’re just starting a practice, maybe you just join Next Level Practice and you’re in the membership community and you see all these modules and all these people doing great things and you’re like, “Oh my gosh, what do I do?”
Just slow down and figure out what that next step is. When I work with consulting clients, just yesterday I was working with a couple of them and we covered some really big picture things. So, things like podcasts and ecourses and retreats and building out a Facebook group so that people can genuinely help people, but then also can really survey their community. And then at the end of it, it’s like, “Oh my gosh, how do I do all that?”
And with my consulting clients, we always figure out what’s the one thing that you need to do next? What’s that first step? Focus on that. Don’t get overwhelmed by it and do it. So, that’s really how I approach my consulting. It’s how I approach my life. It’s how I want you to start thinking. Because when you do that, you can just set everything else aside.
As some of you know, I’ve been working on a book and working on getting a traditional publisher for that and I’ll kind of keep you updated on that, but the big theme of that book is, we have ideas every day that go through our brains, but the number of people that actually take action on ideas, you know what I mean? It’s just so few. Think about how many people stood in the rain with a smartphone in their pocket saying taxis have to be better than this. And Lyft and Uber figured it out. They designed great platforms to get people from here to there. You know if a business tried to plan that out in a way that wasn’t based on kind of humans giving feedback and all that, it just wouldn’t work. And there’s no way you could plan all that out.
But there are so many times we have these big ideas in our head and they just never go anywhere. So, how do you get those ideas out? How do you scale those ideas and launch them and test them and create a habit? That’s kind of what I’m working on in my book and it’s kind of top of mind right now. And so, no matter where you’re at in your practice, I want you to be observing the things that you keep coming back to.
When I interviewed Rob Bell a while ago for the podcast, man, that was like episode 100 something he said to me after that, I asked him about writing books because he’s written tons of great books. He said you know, ‘What are the seven questions that you just keep going back to with your consulting clients, with your counseling clients, that you repeat over and over and over?
That should be a book. And so, thinking about, you know, if you’re a trauma therapist, maybe you do EMDR or maybe you’re a Gottman level two or level three therapists and you’re helping couples or you know, maybe you have some big ideas about how to help corporations or banks or you know, whatever. Start keeping track of those ideas and see which one’s kind of keep coming up over and over. And that’s going to help you grow in scale in a much different way.
So, today we’re talking about how do you get more ideal clients in your private practice? And this is a question that I get a lot, but also almost in every first consulting session, whether someone is starting doing their own consulting, maybe they want to expand outside of their group practice or if someone’s growing their group practice or scaling it. Almost always one of the first questions we start with is who are you trying to attract?
And if people haven’t figured that out, everything else we do is going to be a big waste of time because we want to see who is your ideal client. I was just thinking about one of my consulting clients, Veronica, and I think I’ve mentioned her in other podcasts. She’s starting this website Who the F Am I? And we met yesterday and came up with some strategy for her Facebook group. And her Facebook group is for women that are trying to figure out who they are, Who the F Am I?
And we set some very clear goals. She wants to within a month, have, you know, 500 members there, get more challenges going in there for women that want to figure out who the F they are, and she’s my ideal client. She owns who she is, she takes action. You know, I met with her yesterday and yesterday evening my wife who’s in this Facebook group, she’s like, “Look, Veronica’s already kind of talking about this.” And I kind of told Christina, “I think she’s going to say this kind of stuff that we talked about,” and she did. She put it into action.
She’s going and getting and she’s seeing major results. I don’t want consulting clients that just sit around. I want ones that can move forward and fast and get a lot out of their consulting. I want people that want to play really big. And so, I’ve determined who my ideal clients aren’t, kind of figured out how do I attract them, how do I make sure that I can vet them in the pre-consulting calls. And then our counseling practice is the same thing, it’s true. You know, the Veronicas of the world are going to refer to other Veronicas of the world. And in the same way, if you attract someone that maybe has a toxic relationship and they want to get out of it and you say, “I love working with people that are in toxic relationships and helping them find their identity.”
If you identify that ideal client, they’re going to refer more of that ideal client. Whereas if you generally help people, they’re going to just refer other people generally. So, why should you focus on getting your ideal clients instead of just seeing everyone? Well, first, when you have an ideal client, a specialty or a niche, you can charge more, just straight up. You know, think about it. What was the situation that we had recently? We bought a hot tub recently.
It’s our first kind of major splurge purchase. We’ve always bought like pre-owned cars that are, you know, several years old, we kind of, you know, pay down debt, and we’ve done everything very responsibly. And we were finally at a point where we had saved up some money for a hot tub and I was like, “Let’s just get like a cheapo one that’s just going to be like cheapo, you know, we can sit in it. No big deal.”
My wife wanted this like bullfrog brand because it had all these different things about it. Well, one thing that stood out to us is that you can kind of change the little spigots in it and then there’s like, I don’t know, 90% less tubing in it, so it’s not going to break down and all these things. So, when you have a product like that, you can charge more. I mean, look at Mackintosh, look at Apple, look at all the different brands that are out there that when they specialize in certain areas, people pay more for it because they assume you’re the expert. And so, when you have an ideal client, when you focus in on a specialty, you can charge more.
Now, specialists can always be seen as a generalist. Oh, I know what the other thing was. There’s this place in town called Sharkey’s, and it’s a haircut place for kids. They, you know, for girls, they paint their nails and put glitter on it and for kids first haircut, they save a piece and they have this little certificate and they charge like 25 or 30 bucks for a kid’s haircut. It’s like when I was a kid, I remember like my mom had a friend that would cut our hair in her like dining room. Or my mom for a long time when I was a little kid just cut our hair, and you know, it showed, sorry mom. But it’s like these specialty places that our kids’ environments, people are willing to pay extra for it because it’s catered for kids to have a positive experience that’s a haircut. And it feels that way. It’s aimed at kids. And so, those kinds of things, you can charge more when you have that specialty.
So, second specialists can always be seen as a generalist, but not the other way around. I’ve used this example many times and I think I stole it from someone, but I’ve said it enough that I’m not going to take credit for it, but I’m just going to say it. You know, if I went to La Cuisine Amical, it’s a French restaurant that’s just on the other side of a building from where I’m standing in downtown Traverse City. Great French restaurant, has all these like amazing pastries and dinners and their white fish is incredible. It has this Parmesan crust and I don’t really even like fish, but it’s amazing.
If I went there and I said, you know, “I’m not really in the mood for anything here. Could you guys just make a burger?” They would probably like have some, like let’s say they actually did this, they’d probably have some like lamb and you know maybe some like pork and you know maybe they would add some like burger, like beef to it, and maybe they have some like aged bacon and like a smoked gouda cheese and, I mean they would make the fanciest, most delicious burger I’ve probably ever had even though it’s not on their menu.
But if I went down the street to the mom and pop hamburger place and I said, “You know what, I would love some creme brulee.” They’re probably not going to serve me the best creme brulee. Now there are those times when these mom and pop places just blow your mind with something specialty that you just didn’t see coming. But almost always people will assume a specialist will be a generalist but not the other way around. You assume your brain surgeon could tell you if the rash on your arm should be, you know, seen by a dermatologist, you assume that that doctor is going to know enough, but your general primary care doctor, you’re not going to say, “Hey, what do you think about my brain? You know, I do some surgery on it.” People assume generalists for specialists but not the other way around.
And if you think about the world, like this is true everywhere. If someone is a specialist attorney that works just on wills, if you ask them a general question about the law, they can usually answer it. But the opposite is not true. Third, ideal clients can recommend other ideal clients. So, the more that you specialize and especially in larger markets, so, I have a lot of clients that are in the New York area, LA, the Bay Area, San Diego, San Francisco, quite a few down in Texas and Florida, that, a bunch in Chicago, actually two. And so, those larger markets, if you’re able to zoom in, you’re going to stand out more. And those ideal clients are going to refer to other ideal clients. And that’s going to fill you up more because you’re working with people that you feel you’re really good at. And it also gives you energy.
And lastly, we want to look at that the brand of your practice is easier to understand when you have that level of focus. And if you’re able to say, “We help angry kids. That’s who we help. We’re really good at helping kids that are fricking pissed off, that are really mad. We’re so good at that and we’ve spent tons of time learning about it. We read the books, we focus our website and our blogs and our Facebook lives all around that,” your branding is going to be so much easier than if you’re just a generalist.
So, we want to think about these things of why you should focus on an ideal client instead of everyone. I mean, every domain of your life, when you go out to a restaurant when you get a new pair of shoes, you get running shoes or dress shoes or slippers. Those are all specialties. Doctor, same sort of thing. You get the point. All of our life is made up of specialties.
So, people do specific plumbing for houses or for businesses. They make dresses, shoes, they’ve great Indian food. There are all these things that are examples of how people specialize. So, now that you realize the need for a specialty, we’re going to walk through exactly how to build your business avatar, how to figure out exactly who you want to talk to, right after this word about Slow Down School.
Imagine if you had time to slow down and work on your best ideas. If you believe in your practice, your big ideas and want to fast forward your growth Slow Down School might be for you. At the core of Slow Down School, we’ve seen the biggest breakthroughs come, and first. We slow down. By using the best neuro research principles, we help you to optimize your brain. You’ll slow down, then speed your business up. Imagine a small group of high achievers that choose to pause the hustle to define what matters most then to sprint towards reshaping their businesses. Wouldn’t it be amazing? If you want expert guides, a supportive community, and time to slow down to speed up your business, apply for Slow Down School today. Head on over to slowdownschool.com to apply today. It’s happening this summer on the beaches of Northern Michigan.
We’re really passionate about helping people that are growing and scaling their businesses to go after big ideas and to slow down and figure out the best use of your time. So, that’s why I’m telling you so much about Slow Down School. It’s going to be amazing. We’re actually going to do an episode pretty soon, all about Slow Down School just so that you have a good idea of it, to figure out if it’s for you. It may not be for you, but for a lot of people to see what happens in that one week together here in Northern Michigan, it is totally worth it.
So, let’s go back to creating your business avatar. So, first, what is a business avatar? It is basically an ideal client. It’s a fancy way of saying your ideal client. So, what we want to do is we want to start by giving your business avatar a name, who is the ideal client, what’s the name you want to give them? Because when you can create a real character in your head of your ideal client, it makes it so much easier when you’re focusing on writing a blog post or a Facebook live. You can picture that person in your head to be able to actually talk to rather than just, “Oh, I’m talking to my audience.”
Next, you want to give that person their actual age. Don’t pick 25 to 50. Pick an actual age. You know it doesn’t mean you’re not going to see 25-year-olds if you want to focus on 38-year-olds, and it doesn’t mean if you pick 50-year-olds that you’re not going to see people younger or older. It just means that we want to create a character of someone that represents your ideal client. Don’t want to start listing out the issues they’re dealing with. What are they dealing with? What are the things that are their pains? What would they complain to their friends about?
You know, if you’re getting a massage or a haircut or something and your ideal client was giving you a haircut, and they found out you were a therapist, what would they say to you? Next, we want to look at a couple of other things. We want to really think through, who are they connected with? You know, who are the people that they connect with as a pastor, a yoga teacher, a brewer, a bartender, an attorney? So, who are they connected with and who’s in their family? Do they have kids? What are their ages? What schools do they go to? Really build out a profile of this person.
And then lastly, we want to look at some of the hobbies that they have. Hobbies, you know, what are they into? Where do they spend their time? And go even beyond that. Maybe find an online picture of someone that you think would look like your ideal client. Now after that, we want to go into a section of really thinking through their pain and the solution that you offer. So, here are some phrases that are going to help you connect with your ideal client. And so, I’m going to kind of have some blanks here. And so, we help blank to have a better blank. And so, we help.
And then the first blank is the pain. So, we’re looking at pain and solution. So, we help this pain to have a better outcome. For example, we help couples who have stopped having sex after the kids were born to have a better connection with one another to find intimacy again. So, see the pain was what happened after they had kids, and the outcome is a better connection to find intimacy again. So, again, that’s we help insert pain here to have a better insert outcome here.
We actually have a whole blog post that goes through these five questions. If you just search Five Questions, we’ll also put a link to that in the show notes today.
The second kind of statement that you can have is if you are blank, then we’ll help you create a plan for blank. The first blank is pain, the second blank is the outcome. So, if you are this pain, then we’ll help you create a plan for the desired outcome. So, for example, if you are sick of getting calls from your son’s principal, so calls from the sun’s principal is the pain, we’ll help you create a plan for better behavior at school and home. So, better behavior. That’s the outcome that these parents want.
So, next, another statement that would help is we’ve been helping clients who blank to blank since blank. So, we’ve been helping clients who pain to the outcome since whenever you establish your practice. So, for example, we’ve been helping clients who have trouble sleeping to rest soundly and have more energy since 2009. So, we’ve been helping clients who have trouble sleeping, that’s the pain, to rest soundly, the outcome and have more energy since 2009. So, when you’re focused on who you attract, their pain and their solution, and the outcomes, that really helps you connect with your ideal client.
So, we’re going to continue to go through some of these questions and, this I believe is question number five of this series. We have a bunch more coming up that we’re going to be doing some interviews. We’ve got some guests coming on the show, more solo shows. If you’re looking for more content, I just want to kind of rattle off wherever your favorite places are.
On Instagram, we’re frequently putting all sorts of kind of images, Facebook stories, videos, things like that. And our Instagram, it’s just Practice of the Practice over there. We’re pretty active on Facebook as well. That’s where we also have our membership community for Next Level Practice, but just our regular Facebook page. We’re posting all sorts of things and the website practiceofthepractice.com. That’s our hub where we have all the podcasts, all the articles, all the monthly income reports where I show exactly how I make money every month, how much it is, where my expenses are so you can see that I’m actually living out what I’m talking about.
And if you need help head on over to practiceofthepractice.com/apply. We have a flowchart there that’ll help you figure out probably what the best thing is for your time and your money. But, you know, we would, we don’t want to miss the people that help us make this podcast happen and that’s our sponsors.
Our sponsors this week is Brighter Vision Website Solutions, brightervision.com/Joe. Brighter Vision has been making websites for five or 10 years. They’re just amazing. They help therapists have beautiful websites and at such a reasonable cost. They do all of your IT. If it goes down right before a session and you let them know, you know, it’s amazing to see how quickly they can get things back up and running.
To have that peace of mind is worth way more than that 59 bucks a month that you’re paying. And that covers your hosting, your design, your IT support, like all of it. They have some great analytics behind this. You can make good decisions and see what’s working also. So, attract your ideal clients with Brighter Vision. Head on over there. Let them know I sent you. They’ll give you I think a free month or something like that.
So, thanks so much to them. Thanks for letting me into your ears and into your brain. I’ll talk to you soon.
This podcast is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It’s given with the understanding that neither of the host, the publisher, or the guests are rendering legal, accounting, clinical, or other professional information. If you need a professional, you should find one. Also, thanks to the band Silence is Sexy for that intro music.