As an agency owner, you can attract your ideal “A” clients even in a tough economy with a little planning and creative visualization. When times are tight, it can be tough to turn down opportunities that would bring immediate financial benefit, but might not be a good fit for your business in the long term. Filtering out these “B” and “C” clients will save you time and resources while producing more meaningful and profitable relationships in the future. Use your imagination and visualize the perfect client roster with the help of these five strategies.
Create an Ideal Client Profile
Create a list of ideal qualities for “A” clients and focus your business development efforts on retaining and attracting clients that fit those criteria. You can include factors like minimum annual deal size, target industry, etc., or characteristics such as “supportive, intelligent, grateful, easy to work with, realistic in what PR can achieve for their business.” Use the criteria as a checklist and be strict about qualifying all new prospects.
Rank Your Current Clients
To be successful in attracting “A” clients, you may need to make room for new opportunities by letting go of less profitable clients currently on your roster. First, rank your clients according to your ideal guidelines. You might be surprised at the results! Then, decide whether you want to create a growth plan or choose not to renew contracts when they expire.
Focus on Your Passions
Spend the bulk of your new business effort focusing on the unique niche(s) you are passionate about to develop client relationships that are both personally and professionally rewarding. Look for companies that align with your mission, vision and values who are working in areas that your team is excited about. Get creative and consider putting up a vision board with images, quotes, anything that inspires you on a daily basis.
Leverage Key Influencers
Tap into your network of key influencers to gain access to ideal clients, establish credibility and top of mind awareness. Ask your current “A” clients to be referral sources to other high quality prospects. Another tactic is to create an advisory board to strengthen relationships with your influencers and obtain advance notice of opportunities on the horizon.
As your business evolves over time, you will need to continually refresh your ideal client profile to stay in line with shifts in your strategy and the competitive landscape. Review your checklist on a quarterly basis and ensure your team knows what qualities are most important. Keep your eyes on the “A’s” and trust your instincts for success in achieving the perfect client mix.
Sarah Hardwick is founder of Zenzi Communications, a Solana Beach, CA based PR and social media firm dedicated to helping clients “Be Known.” Follow her at www.twitter.com/SarahZ, visit www.zenzi.com or www.Facebook.com/ZenziBEKnown