Talk It Out Tuesday: Coffee Chat
Cloning Your Ideal Client is Easier Than You Think!
Grab your dark roast + join guest host, Heidi Thompson of Evolve Your Wedding Business, and I as we chat about the steps you need to take in order to make sure you book your ideal client, every time, on autopilot!
Heidi Thompson is the best-selling author of Clone Your Best Clients and the founder of Evolve Your Wedding Business where she specializes in business and marketing strategy for wedding professionals. She helps wedding professionals grow their businesses and reach their goals without going crazy in the process. Her business & marketing expertise has been featured on several wedding and business outlets including The Huffington Post, Social Media Examiner, Wedding Business Magazine, Sprouting Photographer, Photo Biz Xposed, Honeybook, WeddingWire World & she’s an advisory board member for the UK Academy Of Wedding & Event Planning.
Episode 28 Coffee Chat Replay
Episode 28 Podcast
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Lauren Dragon-Cook: Good morning everyone! How the heck are we doing on this lovely Tuesday? Today I am super stoked because we are in the presence of our guest today… Ms. Heidi Thompson. She is a badass when it comes to marketing and systems and all of the fun stuff I love so much. I am so excited she is here. Today she will be chatting with us about how to clone your ideal client and make that whole process a little bit easier on yourself.
Heidi has been in the industry for over a decade now. She has been marketing and doing her jam for awhile. She knows her shit, guys. So without further ado I am going to let her take the stage. So welcome! Welcome to the chaos.
Heidi Thompson: Hey! Thank you so much for having me. I am so excited to be here. I even got up early for it!
Lauren: I know you’re freakin’ west coast, its like 3am over there. I don’t even know what time it is.
Heidi: Neither do I. So today I want to talk to you about not JUST your ideal client, but how to clone your best clients. You get to choose who you work with and I think this is something a lot of people forget. But the way you market, determines who you attract and determines how likely it is that you are going to be able to command a higher price and close them at those prices.
I would be curious to know if you know who your ideal client is? This is the bedrock of everything. When people ask me questions, “Should I do this? Should I advertise here? Should I do that?”, its like okay… we need to figure out who you are talking to. It depends… if your people don’t use wedding wire to find their wedding vendors, then no it is not worth you spending money even if that works for someone else.
Ideal Clients as Human Beings
I think the really important thing is to know your ideal clients as human beings. This is a common mistake people make. They box them into these weird demographics. So I work with people between the ages of 25 and 45 who live within 50 miles of my zipcode and are getting married. Okay. Are they a Walmart shopper for their groceries or are they a Whole Foods shopper? That tells you something about a person and what is important to them and where their priorities lie. That is important because our values shape our purchasing decisions.
A lot of people get hung up on “this person doesn’t value what I do”. Okay cool, not your person. There is so much freedom in that. Saying I don’t need to work with that person. Yes it takes some balls to trust that another person will come along, but knowing who you are trying to attract , what they value is going to help you attract more of them and become the go-to person for them.
Lauren: So someone we have who commented in the live says their ideal client is…
- Type A personality
- Busy professional
- Highly educated
- 25-32 year olds
- Don’t want cookie cutter weddings
- Think outside of the box
- Like to break the rules
Heidi: So I love that she included this last part, because where a lot of people stop is busy, educated, and an age range. But that doesn’t tell you HOW to market to that person. That doesn’t tell you what to make your messaging to help you stand out. As an example, I have a wedding planner that I’ve worked with for awhile. She initially was marketing herself based on “your busy, I’m going to save you time, this will be awesome” … the typical kind of messaging you get around a wedding planner. She went through the process that I teach both in my book and programs and she interviewed her best clients and asked them all sorts of questions what made them decide to work with her and what options they looked at and cared about. It turned out the business was a factor, but it was priority number three or four. What the true driving force was that the people she was attracting has large families. They had been to their brothers, sisters, four of their cousins weddings and all the same. It drove them nuts. They don’t want the same experience for their guests. They want something different but want to incorporate their traditional traditions. The way you market that is not “you’re too busy”.
So what you start saying is “I can help you have a wedding that isn’t like your cousins and your brothers, but maintains those traditions”. You become a category of one. There are all those other planners and then there is you.
Another commenter says their ideal client is:
- The mother
- Not to be responsible for details
- Enjoy the event
This is good. This is interesting that you know that. A lot of people would just assume. But if a lot of those responsibilities are falling on the mother of the bride, then it makes absolute sense to market to the moms.
Lauren: One thing that I want to make note of is that I am seeing a very common similarity here. Obviously yes you want to know the level of education, the age range, the sex… those types of things that are measurable you can go into the behind the scenes of your google, of analytics and see those exact figures. Instead of you guessing the age range or thinking your ideal client is a male and then hop on the behind the scenes and see 94% of your website traffic is female, then you have to change that a little bit.
One thing Heidi is really driving home for you guys is the finer details, the mom that doesn’t want to be bothered with the pesky details, the people that are thinking outside of the box and like to break the rules. Those components are what is going to set you apart from the competition.
Someone else just commented and said they are still trying to figure out their ideal client, but she has learned that she is not her own ideal client. That is so true. Just because you are creating this image of what this person looks like for you… that doesn’t mean that you have to fit into that same category. You can still work with hose people and treat them like gold and give them the best service you can, but it doesn’t make you would pay for your own services. Right?
Figure out what is going to set you apart. Yes you need to know the core details, but really…
- Do they like Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts?
- Do they shop at Walmart or Whole Food?
- Do they rent an apartment? Do they own a home?
- Do they enjoy traveling or are they a homebody that loves to entertain?
What do your people like to do?
Heidi: I like to ask people too, to encourage that sort of thinking… what do they geek out on? Everybody has their favorite things. Everybody has their stuff they are into. If you can appeal to someone on that human level, that really sets you apart.
My friend Marie is an officiant. She is a total self-professed nerd. She talks about Game of Thrones on her website and she attracts people who are like “YES YOU ARE MY PEOPLE”. At the end of the day you work with people you like and trust. And we tend to as humans to like and trust people who have things in common with us.
Figuring out that you are not your ideal client is a BIG STEP. Very big step, because that is a level of maturity in your business of realizing you don’t have all the answers and you need to go to your people and listen to them. This is what I am such a proponent of is your people are such a wealth of knowledge. The book that I wrote about this is how they will tell you how to market to them. All you have to do is ask them the right questions and piece it together and work backwards, but you can’t do that if you assume you already have all the answers.
“But I don’t have any clients…”
Lauren: Two questions. One, what do you do if you are just starting out in the business and you don’t have any clients to ask? But two, what are the types of questions that you would ask these people?
Heidi: So what do you do if you are just starting out? First, be open to working with people, but I really think it is better to make a hypothesis and test it, than to just wait and see. It is very had to attract anyone if you are being very vague in general. I would make an educated guess of who you think you want to work with. You can change this later. And even if you are further in business, there might come a point 5 years down the road where you determine you love one subset of people you work with and you want to work with just them, so you change things up to work with just them. This is constantly evolving and forming. So don’t feel you get locked in. You are the boss, you get to do what you want! Which is both great and terrifying.
I would encourage you if you are new, to make an educated guess. Take a stab and hypothesis of who you think you want to work with. If you know anyone like that kind of person, talk to them! Ask them these questions and figure out what matters to them. If you don’t know anyone like that, you want to make sure this person does exists. Look at people who are running businesses in other markets. Is there anyone that is targeting this person? How are they talking to them? How are they marketing? What tone are they using? What platforms are they using? You never want to assume people have done their homework, but is can be a clue. It is a good indicator of a direction you could go for. Anytime you can observe this group of people in person, online, in groups… it helps to get that kind of intel about them, But it is okay to start with a guess and develop it from there.
Think about who you want to be the go-to person for. There was another coordinator I worked with who wanted to be the go-to person for couples where at least one of them was of Mexican or central American heritage, first generation in the US. They were an American kid growing up, but their values and traditions are still really important to them. Maybe grandma and grandpa don’t speak the best English, so having Spanish is important. She built her entire business around these people. She decided she wanted to be the go-to person for Mexican American couples who really wanted to incorporate their traditions but do their own thing. Have a modern spin, but have someone who understood where they were coming from.
So you are going to attract your ideal client, but it is like a bullseye. You are also going to attract the outside rings. You are going to attract white girls like me, who wish they were Mexican.
Maybe you don’t know a ton about your ideal client yet, but its part of an investigation that goes deeper and deeper and deeper.
Surveys and Questions
Lauren: Yes, and I love when you mentioned the bullseye. That is such a fabulous visual. Yes, you are niching it down to the point, but you are still going to attract a larger population. So many people get so distracted by this idea that they won’t be able to reach enough people, but you are going to have the subset that falls in there. They may not be your “ideal ideal client”, but they are still in the realm. They are still in that gray zone. They are not in the abyss. They have a lot of the same qualities and characteristics.
One thing I would like to mention is right before I launched Wedding Boss and I was very close to expanding LDC, I conducted a survey. I’m a nerd. I love statistics. I love it! I’m a psych nerd. I want to know the human behavior and what they think.
This is something I would encourage you to do if you are on the fence, I would encourage you to conduct a survey. Use Survey Monkey, Type Two, WooFoo… create a really simple survey. Email all of your past “best” couples. The ones you loved working with! Say “Hey I wanted to see how you are all doing. I am running a quick giveaway/contest. If you decide you want to answer a wicked short survey, I will enter you in for an Amazon giftcard.” It doesn’t have to be huge, but think about that… you spend $25, $50 on a giftcard somewhere and you are going to get all the information you could possibly need. That is then how you clone your ideal client. Think of it as an investment.
So Heidi, what are some questions you could put into a survey or ask Facebook groups of brides? What could they ask?
Heidi: So for previous clients I always like to ask:
- Where did you look?
- How did you look?
- Where did you conduct your research?
If you find out they all rely on a couple of blogs or they ask for recommendations form other vendors, that tells you where to double down on your marketing. That tells you where to pay more attention. Not all marketing techniques are created equal. It depends on what you people are involved in and what they respond to. You want to ask questions along those lines.
You then want to get into their thinking.
- Why did you book me instead of someone else?
The line of questioning I really like to take here is just being super curious. Like a three year old. Why? Over and over and over again. I like to do this as having conversations with people, because we edit ourselves a lot when we type. So asking questions on an initial survey and then calling someone to follow up and elaborate.
So in the instance of the planner I was just talking about… why does it matter that your wedding is different? This brings you to the main point, you get to the core reason.
So you want it to be different because you want your guests to have a different experience. You don’t want them to be bored like you have been at previous weddings. Maybe you want to one-up your sister. Who knows!
Lauren: I love that, yes!
Heidi: But that is the kind of thing you could include in your marketing technique.
“If you want to have the best wedding your family talks about… choose me”.
It is really hard to market to someone when you don’t know what is going through their head. That is why I really want you to make a hypothesis, because when you don’t make people feel anything… apathy is the worst thing someone can feel about your brand. I would rather someone hate me than feel nothing. That means I am not being specific enough about who I am for. On the flipside… who I am not for. Something to think about.
You don’t want to just be mean, but you definitely want to say “this package, my services… I work with couples who x, y, z.” If someone is reading that and they don’t fit that mold, they aren’t for you.
You want to get to know the social components of who these people are and what makes them tick. So if you and your best client went you for drinks, what would you talk about? You want to appeal to that. That is why my favorite question to ask is “what do you geek out on?” You want to be able to incorporate that. Yes the decisions around purchasing are super important… you want to know how you are coming across because a lot of time you will learn things about yourself that you didn’t realize were your superpower of how people perceive about you. But you also need to know how to talk to these people as people in your marketing and stand out in such a way that when someone lands on your site, they feel something. They feel they are in the right place for them.
Lauren: They feel they are home.
Be True to You
Lauren: I love that. It is so important to be true to you. Just like you guys, we all can sense BS. Our clients can do the same. So if you are trying to attract a certain type of client and yet it doesn’t resonate with who you are... why!? You can’t jive with that. It will be like vinegar and water. Be true to you. You have heard me say this again and again. When I finally incorporated the woo woo back in March… shit changed, guys. It was making it rain. The heavens opened up, rainbows and unicorns started falling. Yeah I was doing alright. I was doing okay. But once you really integrate with who you truly are, that is when the magic happens. Something to think about.
Heidi: Yeah and you make a good point. You don’t have to BE your ideal client, but you have to LIKE your ideal client. It is someone you want to be around, regardless of the fact you are not that person. You still like them and like working with them. Maybe they aren’t your best friend, but you still really enjoy being with them.
What often gets lost so much in business is you get to design the business and the life you want. It is very easy to go in the direction of “oh I have to do this and work with these people and now I’m miserable and I hate my life”. But that is all up to you. You decide who you attract with how you talk about what you do with your marketing.
As a business you are solving a problem. Sure we are not curing cancer here, but we are still solving a problem that someone has. Things that they are worried about are things you can really call out and tease out in your website and the types of things you post on your social media. It needs to be specific to the problem that they want you to solve. If it is a problem you assume they have, that won’t lineup. They won’t feel as strongly as “yes this is exactly what is going on through my head right now, how did you know?”. Well I know because I’ve worked with people just like you and I used their words in my marketing.
Language, Language, Language
That is another key piece is when you get answers to questions from people, don’t edit them. As much as you possibly can, use their exact worse. The cursive knowledge will force you to talk about what you do in a way that someone who has never done it, doesn’t get.
Lauren: Yes and that is something so many people forget. We use terminology that we all know, we all speak, but it is not their love language. Those are not the words that they would us. Do you have a good example?
Heidi: For me I was trying to boil down a quick one line of what I do. I put it to my group and asked which of these resonates most with you?
- I help wedding professionals make more money without going crazy in the process.
- I help wedding professionals grow their businesses without going crazy in the process.
People hated the making money one, which I was like “alright…”. Then I used the one that my group most identified with. It is the same thing, but it is a different way of saying it. If I had said it the other way I would have driven people away who could’ve been my ideal clients purely because I didn’t understand what it was that they wanted. What problem they wanted solved.
Lauren: Absolutely. I love that. It made me think… if you have a Facebook page or a group, create a poll and ask them certain questions. What was one added bonus of working with me that you didn’t anticipated?
Heidi: What do you wish you knew before you went through the wedding planning process? That gives you all these ideas of how you can market to people. You can turn that into blog posts or social media posts to address these issues that came up for people that they didn’t know they were going to have.
Lauren: I love this. This combined with SEO… I feel like I’m beating a dead horse but these strategies combined with SEO is all the advertising you would need in the world.
Heidi: It is all in your ideal client’s head. It is who they are and how they think. There are photographers who really focus on working with tattooed couples, who don’t want to hide their tattoos and show them off. If I was covered in tattoos, that is who I would want to work with. I want to work with someone who knows how to show that off even if they cost more. Now it is not “this photographer or that photographer”… it is “this photographer who absolutely gets me and all of these other photographers”.
Lauren: Yes and they are willing to spend the money if that means they are going to get exactly what they want.
“I have to do…”
Heidi, one of the last questions I want to ask is what is one of the biggest takeaways or biggest hidden secrets that you tell only your paid clients? One is one of the biggest monumental shifts?
Heidi: I think something that comes up a lot is what you “have to do”. The overwhelm that comes along with that. You get to design the business that you want. You get to design the business around the ideal clients that you want to have. You don’t have to do all the things. In fact, during our workshops in the wedding collective that we have, one of my favorite questions to ask people is “what are you going to stop doing?’
Lauren: PREACH! YES!
Heidi: Because you can just pile on and pile on, but what is not working? Get rid of it. You don’t have to do it. Just do what works.
It can be simpler than it feels like it should be. I really like to encourage people to focus on just a few marketing channels as part of their marketing plan. You can’t focus on ten things, that is against the definition of the word focus. Its not going to happen.
Lauren: Where are you when I need you? One thing! One!
Heidi: Maybe there are two or three things that work well for you… good keep going! Not to say you can’t experiment. Pick one thing to experiment with for 90 days. Maybe you are going to work on your Pinterest or Instagram or your SEO. Dabble in one thing at a time and know that that is okay. I think a lot of this is giving yourself permission to not drive yourself crazy. You don’t have to work 10 hours a day. You don’t have to work 8 or 6 hours a day. If you can be effective in less time, awesome. No one is clocking your hours. If you can get the job done in 4… cool you have the rets of the day. Take advantage of it. It is definitely a mindset shift to allow yourself to stop.
It is something I struggle with too because I like to just go go go, but knowing the difference between what you need to do because it is working and what you can let go of… is super refreshing.
Lauren: That is huge. Such a good piece of advice. Love it.
Heidi, seriously thank you so much for joining us. Thank you so much for giving up your early ass morning to be here with us. Really.
Where can people find you Heidi?
Heidi: My main website is evolveyourweddingbusiness.com and that has all of the things. My blog, podcasts, how to work with me. If you are interested in picking up my book, Cloning Your Best Clients, you can go to evolveyourweddingbussiness.com/clone and that will direct you to Amazon where you can pick up the eBook or paperback. You can really go to town on this “close your best client” strategy.
Lauren: Thank you. You are just a wealth of information and I feel so lucky and grateful to have had you on here to share your knowledge with all these people.
That wraps up todays episode! Join us here next week. If you liked this episode, like it and subscribe! It helps to get the word out to everyone that actually needs to hear these lessons and tips to help their businesses. Thank you so much Heidi, and have a great rest of the day you guys!
I’m Lauren, your wedding business visionary! I educate wedding pros on the behind the scenes of their businesses through practical knowledge and intuitive strategy. I incorporate my intuitive gifts with solid business strategy to maximize my clients' progress and success.