Does your Great Fit Client look like this?

“We take anyone who comes asking for our help,” Micah told me.

“They need a lawyer, we’re lawyers, we’ll do the work.”

For 6 years Micah’s firm was overworked and struggled to make a profit. They barely covered their expenses. They agonized about new expenses including their technology, marketing, and admin.

Micah and his 3 associates worked crazy hours to accommodate the wide variety of matters they were handling.

Something has to change

“Something has to change, Susan,” Micah told me when we spoke early last year. “I have no time for my family and I’m afraid my associates will leave.”

When I asked Micah if this problem—being spread too thin—was an annoyance/inconvenience or on his Critical path, he didn’t hesitate.

“It’s on my Critical Path. If I don’t so something, I don’t see how I can keep going.”

Micah was surprised when I recommended that we begin by defining his firms Great Fit Client.

Not their:

Fees.

Marketing.

Client service, or their financials, or their tech stack.

Those are important, but only after the firm’s Great Fit Client is well-defined.

Describing your firm’s Great Fit Client is the first step to avoid being spread too thin.

What’s a Great Fit client?

I define Great Fit Client as a collection of attributes in each client that’s compatible with the firm’s specific values.

Great Fit Clients are not defined by demographics, like age, education, residence, income, etc.

Great Fit Clients are defined by their behaviors and their beliefs.

For professional and B2B services firms, the Great Fit client has to appreciate the somewhat intangible nature of expertise and knowledge.

Your knowledge and expertise allow you to deliver life changing differences—IMPACTs—to your clients.

  • A tax return is not simply a form completed accurately and submitted by the deadline.
  • A contract is not simply pages of legalese with every “i” dotted and “t” crossed.
  • The company website is not just a pretty picture with some information on it.
  • Fractional executives don’t just deposit their knowledge and expertise and leave.

Professional and B2B services firms change people’s lives.

Your Great Fit Client should be seeking life changing differences.

What does that look like?

Here are 12 descriptions that could become your definition of a Great Fit Client:

  1. Describes to you during discovery a change or difference that is important to them.
  2. The life changing difference they seek is well within your existing area of expertise.
  3. Agrees that they are paying for these differences, not the tasks you do, or the time you spend, to deliver those differences.
  4. Appreciates getting these differences sooner rather than later.
  5. Is seeking a life changing difference in the 6-10 range on a continuum of significance.
  6. Has the money and willingness to pay your firm in advance.
  7. Will commit to the schedule you both agree to.
  8. Values unlimited communication as needed between you and them.
  9. Wants your specific provider model: authority, partnership, or implementation.
  10. Will share all the information you need in a timely manner.
  11. Sees engaging with you as important to their success, not an interruption of their other work.
  12. Is pleasant and agreeable to talk to.

Micah and I worked on his firm’s Great Fit Client description.

Marketing becomes so clear

What are the specific IMPACTs his Great Fit clients are seeking?

We narrowed that list to the top 3 IMPACTs.

Next was to connect the firm’s areas of expertise to those IMPACTs.

No longer would they take any person who walked in.

They want to use their existing expertise more.

Going deep and narrow helps clients better and reduces the amount of time learning something new.

Focusing on the IMPACTs they’re already prepared to deliver helped rule out matters they would not accept.

This definition led to a few important changes to their marketing: particularly they wrote about the life changing differences they deliver.

Saying NO felt great!

About 6 weeks into our work together, Micah told me that he’d rejected a prospective client. And he was so happy about it!

That person was adamant about paying by the hour. He wanted a list of tasks the firm would complete. He didn’t want to pay in advance (“What if you stiff me?”)

It was exciting to Micah to think “we can choose our clients!”

I recently had to apply this to my own  business.

  • A Founder asked for help with her new company’s pricing.
  • She sent me lots of information about their market research and pro forma financials.
  • It was clear to me that she was not ready for a pricing strategy engagement.
  • I offered her a one-time consultation during which we’d go over every document and I would point out what I saw and tell her what I think it meant.
  • She objected to everything I said!

She was clearly nowhere near a great fit client for Trivers Consulting Group, so I thanked her and moved on.

What does your Great Fit Client look like?

If you were to write down a description of your firm’s Great Fit Client, what would it include?

Will you confidently embrace the idea that you can choose your clients?

And that by focusing narrower and deeper, you will attract more of your Great Fit Clients?

Are you like the old Micah, taking every job that walks in the door?

Do you want to become like the new Micah, choosing your Great Fit Clients, working less, and making a bigger difference to those you accept?

Text GREATFIT to 703-801-0345 and we’ll set up a time to talk.

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