Do you struggle attracting ideal clients? Have you ever wondered how other designers attract dream projects? You probably wonder often how to get the right clients to notice your company and what to say to get them to call you. An Ideal Client Profile (ICP) is a fictional character that is your “dream” client based in reality.
If you don’t have an understanding of your best clients, it can be hard to create a profile for new prospects. The data collected should include a combination of demographic + psychographic information. Don’t be afraid to dream, this is your business and your ideal client. What if you’re just starting and don’t have previous clients to interview? Make this person up 100% today - and re-visit the exercise each year to build upon. You can also look at testimonials published by other designers and learn what their clients feedback was to identify some relevant points. You can also partner with complimentary businesses who target the same audience to compare notes and information about clients.
Now that you know a little about WHO your ICP is, think about what challenges them enough to drive them to hire you. Understanding what problems your potential clients may need to solve helps you identify solutions you can provide. When you understand this and explain your services as a way to reduce their workload, it will resonate with the prospect much more. You can align your services with their goals in the marketing messaging and the sales process.
A mistake many business owners make is thinking they cannot say “no” to business. Truth is, you DO have people you do not want to target. They may be people who browse without buying, cannot make a decision, people who are “D-I-Y-ers” or individuals who cannot afford you. Think of who these people are for YOU, and exclude them from your target market. For example, you want to target home owners and not renters.
It IS important to create a formal document of who your target audience is. Not just for yourself, but as you grow your business, your team / outsourcing solutions will be on the same page. Having your avatar documented makes life easier for you to review and revise the profile routinely.
Your ICP will evolve and change as your business matures. Especially if you add new services to your business. And now that you know who they are, what pain points they have, and where they spend time, you can create your marketing plan to capture their attention.
Spending time identifying the values, qualities and characteristics of your best client is an exercise in efficiency. While this profile may be fictional, you will be directing all of your marketing, advertising & sales efforts towards those individuals who actually exist AND will specifically hire you AND be a delight to work with.
No more clients “shopping” you, questioning your capabilities, or trying to negotiate your pricing. Instead, they will relate to you personally & professionally, what you do, and appreciate the services you offer. You will find yourself enjoying working with these individuals on a level that makes work feel like hanging out with friends...that pay you. Will you need to revisit and revise your ICP? Absolutely.
Hi – I’m Michelle! I know exactly what it’s like to feel overworked, overwhelmed, and underpaid as an interior designer. A few years into my business, “overdeliver” was my middle name — and my business, bank account, and boundaries paid the price. I finally decided it was time to rewrite my story. Now I coach other interior designers through the business side of running a thriving design business and make five and six figure leaps.
Designer & Entrepreneur
Principal Interior Designer