Hey there, you brilliant service provider. Let me guess: you’re awesome at what you do. You love it, and frankly you’ve done it so many times you could do it with your eyes closed (I mean, you wouldn’t, but you could). There’s a problem, though. But it’s not you—it’s them. The clients you’re booking.
It’s not all your clients, of course. You have some amazing ones! But you also have some that just don’t fit well. Here’s the thing: when you started out as an entrepreneur, you might have been okay with taking any and every client who came through your door.
But there comes a time when every business owner has basically the same epiphany: I just can’t serve everyone (and honestly, I don’t want to).
What you actually want is to serve your ideal client. You know who I’m talking about. That client you connected with in the first 30 seconds on your discovery call. And that client who wrote you a raving review without being asked. Oh, and definitely the client who became a friend IRL.
With clients like those, you could do your job forever with nary a complaint.
So, how do you go from having those clients occasionally to ONLY booking your ideal clients? I wish I could tell you it was a quick and easy fix. But, as with anything worthwhile in business and in life, it’s a process. It takes time. And sometimes it takes trial and error to get it right.
But it’s worth it, promise!
Here are 10 reasons you might not be booking your ideal clients—and, because ILY and want you to succeed, 10 ways to fix it:
Your messaging isn’t resonating with your ideal client. You can have the best offer in the world, but if you don’t convey why it’s the best offer in the world to your ideal client, they won’t buy it.
Fix it: If you want to speak your ideal client’s language, you actually have to talk to those people. Talk to past clients you’ve worked with, or even potential clients who would be a good fit for your service, and ask them to describe their problem and the solution they’re looking for in their own words. Then incorporate those same words into your messaging.
You’re trying to speak to too many people. As our girl T. Swift says, “A friend to all is a friend to none.” If you try to be the solution for everyone, you’ll miss the opportunity to help the people who are a perfect fit for your service.
Fix it: Don’t be afraid to get specific with your messaging. This is what your ideal client is looking for! You want them to immediately realize you’re talking specifically to them.
Your messaging is inconsistent. If you want to build a trusted and recognizable brand, you’ve got to be consistent. If you are constantly changing up your messaging to try to chase every shiny new trend, you’ll lose whatever traction you’ve gotten.
Fix it: Create a core brand message and define your brand voice (grab my free brand voice chart here if you need a starting point). Make sure your content is always consistent with your core message, your values, and your voice.
You keep changing your offer. Just like inconsistent messaging, inconsistency in your service offerings can also confuse your audience and cause you to miss out on your ideal clients.
Fix it: Create a great offer and stick with it. Promote it consistently and give your marketing time to work. Everyone wants fast results, but it pays to be patient.
Your free content doesn’t align with your paid service. If you’re creating content as a marketing strategy, that content needs to be directly related to your service and reflective of your brand. You might be offering valuable free content to your audience, but if it doesn’t align with your paid offer, then it’s not doing its job.
Fix it: Check out your free content. Is it targeted toward your ideal clients for your service? As you create new content, make sure it’s relevant and valuable to your ideal clients and that it is closely connected to the service you provide.
You’re not providing a service your ideal client wants/needs. You know who you want to serve, and you’re passionate about helping them—so why aren’t they booking your service? One reason might be because the offer isn’t actually a service they’re looking for.
Fix it: Do your market research. Survey your ideal clients and find out what their true pain points are and what they will actually be willing to invest in to solve their problem. Then you can design an offer they’re EXCITED to buy.
You’re not hanging out where your ideal clients are. You can have great messaging and a great offer, but if you’re not sharing it with the right audience, you’ll never book your ideal clients.
Fix it: Figure out where your ideal clients are. Go spend time there. Engage with them authentically and provide amazing value to them (oh, and please please please don’t cold message them about your service. It’s weird).
You’re not asking your audience to book your service. No matter how great your service is, it won’t sell itself. You MUST frequently tell your audience about what your service is and how they can hire you.
Fix it: When you communicate with your audience, remember to include a call to action. Make it as easy as possible for them to get started with you. Lots of extra steps and fumbly communication can scare people off.
You’re waiting for your clients to knock on your door. While we all wish this would happen, this just isn’t the norm for most service-based businesses. If you want more perfect-fit clients for your service, you’ve got to find them. And one of the best ways is to tap into your existing and past client base.
Fix it: Regularly ask your existing client base for referrals. Remind your past clients they can work with you again, or maybe create a special offer just for your existing clients. The more you can foster the community you already have and love, the easier it will be to book more perfect-fit clients.
You’re playing the comparison game. Trust me: it’s not a fun game, and no one wins. If you’re constantly comparing yourself to other business owners and trying to model your branding after everyone else, you’ll only drive yourself crazy and lose yourself (and your ideal clients) in the process.
Fix it: Stay true to yourself in your branding. Be authentic with your audience and you’ll attract the right people for your service.
Whew, that was a long list, so if you’ve made it this far, thanks for sticking with it!
Here’s the honest truth: you can do some of these things on your own, while others might require some extra help. For example, I’ve worked with a coach to improve my confidence selling my services. I’ve also worked with another coach to improve and streamline my offer. If you’re struggling in a particular area that I touched on in this post, I’d love for you to reach out and let me know what it is. If I can’t help you directly, I can probably point you in the direction of someone who can.
That said, if you know the struggle is with your messaging and your branding, I’m here to help!
What do you need?