A vampire client will suck your accounting firm dry and leave you resenting the business. Find out how to build an avatar that helps you attract the right clients every time.
John and Mary Green should have been enjoying their golden years.
That was the opinion Liz Farr made of her new clients when she started working for them. Both in their 80s, John and Mary owned several apartment buildings that they rented out. What the couple needed was somebody to help them deal with all of the related accounting work.
At the time, Liz worked for somebody else’s firm. She had a bad feeling about the client, but her boss assigned her to them.
So… she got to work.
And straightaway, she saw a bookkeeping nightmare on the horizon:
“When I started working with the Greens, John was still sort of keeping records, though they were of the hand-written list, shoebox full of receipts and chequebook register variety. John had separate bank accounts for each property, but in practice there was a lot of overlap when he paid the bills.”
But that wasn’t the worst of the issues – something about John just seemed a little off. He had trouble remembering things and the problems only got worse as Liz kept working with them.
There was also the ‘Charles Issue’ to confront.
Charles was John and Mary’s son. John allowed him to live in one of their apartments rent-free to help him through a “rough patch”.
…Which was already 20 years and counting.
Liz knew that the couple needed to sell up and retire. But every time she suggested it, she was only told, “what would Charles do?”
Needless to say, Liz had a vampire client who couldn’t even maintain accurate records. Plus, she had a family drama on her hands that no accountant should have to deal with.
This was a client that required far more work than she anticipated!
Maybe that story resonates with you.
Perhaps you have vampire clients of your own who drain your time and seem to cause constant problems.
It’s time to change that.
You need to create a client avatar that will help you avoid this type of client. And in this article, we’re going to share some tips on how to create one.
But first, you need to know what exactly a client avatar is.
What Is a Client Avatar?
A client avatar is your key to avoiding the vampire clients who want your firm to provide more than what they’re paying for.
Your avatar is a profile that you use to figure out what your ideal client looks like. But this isn’t a broad match thing where you come up with a bunch of assumptions about a demographic. Instead, you’re creating a very specific profile about one person who embodies everything that you want in a client.
But why do you need one?
Beyond avoiding vampire clients, avatars help you with your marketing. When you know what your ideal client looks like, you know exactly who to target. Your avatar will describe specific pains that the client has and how you can solve them. It will help you to understand your target market better than ever before.
And this means more effective marketing campaigns and the ability to provide better services to clients.
That brings us to the key question…
How do you create one?
Follow these tips and you’ll have a client avatar that will make a huge difference for your accounting firm.
Tip #1 – Focus on a Niche
So many accounting firms try to be all things to all clients. You’ve likely heard the phrase “Jack of all trades but master of none” before. But if you try to offer everything, that’s exactly what your clients will see you as.
This means they view your service as a commodity because they don’t see the true value in it.
How could they?
You’re trying to do everything at once, so you can’t possibly offer the best service on the market.
The key to overcoming this is to focus on a specific niche.
Figure out the area of accounting where you offer amazing work – that’s your niche. This is an area that you specialise in and that your clients love you for.
When it comes to creating a client avatar, understanding your niche is of critical importance. You need to know what you do better than anybody else before you start marketing.
Now, when we talk about niching, we don’t mean that you have to put all of your eggs into one basket. Instead, you use niching to focus your marketing efforts. Knowing your niche allows you to hunt for your ideal client and come up with a message that will resonate with them when they see it.
Tip #2 – Prepare Your Questions
Now you know your niche, it’s time to drill into it. That means asking yourself a ton of questions about what your ideal client looks like.
Remember that you’re going to get super specific here, so general questions won’t do the job. The questions you need to ask should be like the following:
- What is my ideal client’s name?
- How old is my ideal client?
- Does my ideal client have a family? And if so, how many kids do they have? How old are the kids? What is their living situation?
- What do they read? What do they watch? What sort of media does my ideal client consume?
- What are my ideal client’s goals?
- What keeps my ideal client up at night?
You’re building a profile of an individual here, rather than a group. The answers to these questions will help you build that profile so you can target similar people.
And to get the answers to these questions, you need to…
Tip #3 – Look at Your Current Clients
Let’s say you have 20 clients right now.
You can identify the vampires straight away. They’re the ones who cause constant trouble and cost your firm money. In a perfect world, you wouldn’t even have these clients on the books.
But at the other end of the scale, you have the clients that you love. You feel like you’re providing real solutions to their problems. They don’t question you at every turn and they’re happy to pay for the value that you provide.
It’s these clients who provide the answers to the questions we mentioned above.
The clients that you love working with right now act as the template for your avatar. You want more people like them and avoid those who share the same traits with your vampire clients.
Tip #4 – Figure Out How You’ll Build Relationships
The average client goes through 70% of their journey before they even pick up the phone and talk to you.
They’ve identified a problem and have likely gone through a bunch of different solutions. But they’re getting frustrated because they can’t solve the problem themselves. And now, they’re ready to work with somebody who can give them the solution.
That’s the position your ideal client is in.
They’re ready to put their hands up and say yes. All you have to do is figure out how to build a relationship with them before they even talk to you. That may be through YouTube videos or blog posts. It might also mean sharing valuable content on social media.
The key is that you have content that essentially qualifies the client before they even speak to you. Your ideal client is one who’s consumed this content and identified you as the person they want to work with.
Tip #5 – Identify the Client’s Pain Points (And Your Cures for Those Pains)
You’ve got a good idea of what your ideal client looks like.
Now, you need to dig into their pain. And again, this involves examining the best clients that you have right now. What issues did they bring to the table when you first started working with them? What was their pain and what solutions did you put in place to relieve it?
When we talked about niching before, this is what we meant. By asking these questions, you’re digging into the specific challenges that you’re amazing at solving.
By knowing specifically what challenges you have a solution for, you’ll know which clients you can help. And you avoid vampire clients.
Tip #6 – Figure Out Where You Can Find the Client
Where does your ideal client hang out?
It’s an important question if you want to avoid wasting money on ad campaigns. For example, your ideal client may spend most of their time on Facebook. If that’s the case, you’re wasting any money you pour into Google Ads or marketing on other platforms.
Your ideal client isn’t going to see you because you’re not putting yourself in front of them.
If you have data about where you found your best clients, use it here. Those sources are where you’ll find more of the clients that you want to work with.
It’s Time to Get Targeted
Ultimately, a client avatar helps you to get your message in front of the people who need to see it.
But it also means that you’re not taking a scattershot approach to your marketing. It’s this approach that attracts the vampire clients that you don’t want to work with.
Establish what your ideal client looks like and then go hunting for them. It’s these clients who will drive the vast majority of the revenue for your accounting firm.
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