Identifying Ideal Clients: Part 1
Have you ever had one of those clients that you wish you had ten more of? On the other hand, what about one of those clients that you hope you would never see again? You can actually make this happen. Here’s how:
You need to identify what your business goals are and target the clients that are an ideal fit for your plan.
My team and I sat down in a meeting and started naming our great clients. Then, we discussed why we liked them. Next, we started building them into the groups you see below. If our client didn’t fit into any of those groups, we made a new group. We only used clients that left an impact on our team. If we couldn't think of them off the top of our heads, we didn’t include them.
You need to make your own chart and ask your staff to help with this. Pick eight to ten of your best clients. What traits do they have? What category would you put them in? Why are they excellent? What hobbies do they have? Are they single or married? Kids? What kind of car do they drive? Is it messy or clean?
If you start picking up patterns in their behaviors, you can target more clients just like them. Let’s say all of your best clients play golf. Find out where they play and either advertise there or join the club and interact. If you treat your ideal clients the best, they will refer your business to more ideal clients.
I’ll give you a small description of each of my best clients and tell you why I find them to be ideal.
Our ideal clients
Dealership maintained, but looking for another shop: These are great. They are already used to paying high prices but feel that they are overpaying on a car that isn’t brand new. They have been brainwashed into believing that they only could go to the dealership, but they probably heard from a friend about how great your shop is and figure that it is worth a try. They could have gotten an enormous repair quote from the dealer and want a second opinion. These are the clients you want. They are looking to change their repair shop and are easy to win over.
Retired and love the car :This is a no-brainer. They aren’t looking to sell the vehicle. They will pretty much fix anything that needs to be done, as long as they trust you. The book value of the car doesn’t matter, and they won’t know or care what it is. They want the car reliable and safe.
Fun or second car: We see a lot of this with classic Porsches, Volkswagen air-cooled, and newer MINI Coopers. Usually, we see the car once or twice a year, and the client will tell you what they want to be done and how much they are willing to spend. Everything is very upfront and straightforward. They do not have a timeframe to be concerned with. Pricing must be fair. Their expectations are usually within reason, and there is no haggling.
Commuter vehicle: This person depends on their car to get to work. They will typically spend whatever needs to be done as long as it makes financial sense. If the car is falling apart, they will consider that before dropping a bucketload of money into it. They will most likely require a loaner car for the length of the repair. They will also be keen on the idea of breaking the repairs into segments. The essential repairs today, the suggested repairs next month, and the advisory repairs two months after. They will be receptive to callbacks and email reminders because their schedule is usually hectic. So they won’t think of repairing their car until it breaks or the oil service is due. If you don’t meet their expectations more than once, they will find another shop that will meet their expectations, so be clear about that upfront.
Enthusiast that can’t repair it themselves: These people are great. They want to keep the car in tip-top shape. Usually, the repairs are maintenance, a bolt-on exhaust, upgraded shocks, and brakes, and they are generally early to do the oil services. They love to talk about their car and will usually brag about how great you are to any new clients that may be in the waiting room with them. On a side note, I attended a MINI Cooper Rally recently. The owners were asking each other where they get their cars maintained, and my shop’s name was quite popular. Even from the people that have never been to my shop. They were saying that they heard that we were the place to take their car to and they planned to use us at their next service. That is the reputation you want to build for yourself.
Kid’s car: Every parent wants their children to be safe. They will spend the money to ensure that the vehicle doesn’t have unsafe brakes or tires. They also don’t want that call at 2 a.m. when it breaks down. The vehicle is usually a hand-me-down and was once their car, so they already trust it. They want it as reliable as it was for them.
Working family aged 30’s 50’s: These people are either up-and-coming with a new family or they are established with teenage kids. Regardless, they are very similar to the commuter, but a little different. To be clear, this is the client type I seek out. They are the easiest to deal with. They want transparency and honesty. Once they trust you, it only comes down to their budget. If you can offer solutions for any of their reasons to decline repairs, they will approve them.
Recent purchase of the car: The client just bought a new, used car. They want it in tip-top shape and expect to put some money into it to bring it back to 100 percent. It is easier if they are already an existing client, but they are usually trusting if you can be transparent and show them your findings. Sometimes, the client will take your estimate back to the dealership where they bought the car. The dealership will either repair it or not, but you will gain them as a loyal client for all future repairs.
Now is the time for you to make your own chart. Get your team involved. Buy some pizza and make this an enjoyable event. Next time, I will discuss our not so ideal clients.