How to Choose Your Clients

How to Choose Your Clients

Nate Chai 02/03/2019 6

There are some books that plunge into your heart, take hold of your still-beating vital muscle, and rips it out whilst living on a yacht, raising kids with scholarships to Oxford University, and curing cancer on the side.

These books break you in two because of A.) How badly you realise you’ve been doing your job and B.) How effortless they make it seem.

Anyway, in other news, I’ve been reading marketing deity Seth Godin’s latest book This is Marketing.

It’s the kind of book that…well, we’ve already had one overwrought metaphor and we’re not even out of the introduction.

The book is great, let’s move on.

There was one chapter that’s inspired this series of essays titled, “People Like Us Do Things Like This” and we’ll get to the summary in a second.

Before we get to that, think about what that statement means in your business;

“People Like Us Do Things Like This” 

When we think about our businesses we look at the value we’re providing for our clients, we look at what the actual outcomes are in terms of return on investment, and we convince ourselves that if we’re doing all of this in the best interest for our clients.

So we tell them what we found.

We tell them what the numerical return on investment is. We show them case studies and testimonials with beaming faces all saying “This is the best thing ever!”. We publish endless content talking about the “5 killer apps to increase success,” and how they “Won’t Believe How This Simple Habit Will Get You Everything You’ve Ever Wanted”.

And we forget;

“People Like Us Do Things Like This”

Marketing doesn’t need to be as hard as we make it and that’s what this four-part series is about, making marketing simple, actionable, and (hopefully) fun.

“People Like Us Think Things Like This”

I’ve never met a business person that wants to run their business for the rest of their life. Most often, their business is a stepping stone to the next thing, their true passion.

And most are only willing to share that within the confines of an alcohol-induced prison of truth.

It all starts the same “Well, my real passion is…” or “Once I get to £x, then I’m going to…” or “I just need to implement this one business system, and then I can…”

I’m the same.

So why is it that we market to their business goals rather than their actual identity that they really want to show the world?

That’s the first step to choosing your clients; find out what they really want and share with them what you really want.

One of my clients runs a property investment company so that they can learn how to properly house ex-convicts, at-risk youths, and defeat the growing problem of homelessness in the UK.

One of my clients has made it their life goal to ensure that men live their best possible lives and provide a fairytale existence for those they love.

One of my clients is determined to build a business so successful that her team can have the freedom to do whatever they want!

These aren’t small goals. These aren’t “just in it for the money” types.

These people have ideas, thoughts, and dreams of changing the world. 

People like us think things like this.

It’s only because of my goals beyond my business that they engage with me. It’s only because we see what each other is trying to do and believe in that other person’s vision of a better tomorrow.

People like us think things like this.

Instead of hoarding their knowledge and keeping to themselves, they want to go out into the world and share with as many people how they achieved their success and how the people they impact can too.

People like us think things like this.

And that’s the reason I can work with them. You’re different (probably), you have your own identity and set of people like you that you want to help. How are you going to find out what they really want?

People Like Us Act Like This

Dreams, for some, are just that. Their goals exist on some sub-space frequency that’s only accessible whilst they’re unconscious, uncaring, and at peace. Others stare their dreams dead in the face, wink, and just like that one episode of Friends where Chandler cannot break up with Rachel’s boss says, “That was fun, let’s do this again sometime” terrified of the commitment.

And then there are people like us.

The people whose identity is based on stripping their dream down to its bare parts, understanding how each nut and bolt works, and once they understand it, get to work building.

Which one are you?

Which camp are you in?

Which type of person do you want your clients to be?

Which type of person are your clients?

More importantly, which type of person do your clients  want to be? 

People buy cars they can’t afford, wear clothes for a single season, and share meaningless shit on social media all because “People like us act like this”.

Think about that.

Now let’s flip it on its head, people spend thousands of pounds on personal development, they spend days hiking in the mountains, and commit days of their week to volunteer work all because “People like us act like this”.

My point here isn’t that one type of person is objectively better than another.

My point is that you need to ask yourself “who do I best serve?”

We define ourselves by the actions we take and the things we buy.

That’s the second step, what is it about the experience of owning your product or service that makes your clients say “People like us act like this”?

My clients all see themselves as “savvy,” that’s why I put out the content that I do. To teach them something that they can use, to get them to understand what it is that I do so that they can make the most informed purchasing decision that they can.

Think about why your current clients do the things they do, what are they trying to “say” or express with their money?

People Like Us Do Things Like This

And so we come back to the quote that started all of this.

They say business is all about people. The more we learn about the people we serve, the more we can connect with them. The more we can speak to a person’s identity the better we become at giving them exactly what they need.

Novelty seeker or a fan of the classics?

Adrenaline Junkie or Tranquility Lover?

Going out to clubs or staying in with Netflix?

They are core to our identity and that’s why brands create…well, brands.

Apple or Android? 

To each one of you reading this that thinks your choice of phone means more than which apps you can use. Apple fans see themselves as stylish, modern, and elite, Android fans see themselves as in control of everything on their phone, freedom seekers, and (at least for me) against the “status culture” that Apple fans brag about.

They’re just phones.

Yet, we assign ourselves an identity based purely on which phone we choose to buy.

“People Like Us Do Things Like This”.

Everything we buy builds our identity. Even those that claim to “not care” about how they dress separate their identity from those that “do care”.

So what does buying from you say about that person?

That they invest in their education?

That they believe in making the world a better place?

That they have status?

People like us read things like this because we want to deliver the best service to our clients. People like us network, graft, and build products so that we can live our best lives. People like us are terrified of waking up one day and thinking, “I wish I’d done more with my life”.

Do you see how alluring those statements are? How tempting an offer they provide?

So What?

When it comes to marketing your business, product, or service you need to look at the bigger picture for what investing in your product will do for your client.

By “bigger picture” we’re talking about what your product or service will intrinsically do for the client. The personal goal that it will get them closer toward.

So here’s what you’ve got to do next:

  1. Understand what labels your clients put on themselves
  2. Look past those labels and figure out why they choose to put themselves in those boxes
  3. Start thinking about how your business builds them closer to their ideal identity
  4. Follow me on Medium to follow this series and make your marketing simple

That’s all for today.

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  • Derek Blackley

    Perfectly articulated what we experience in our daily routine. Thanks a ton!!

  • Paul Mcmillan

    The more that I'm able to reveal to a client what they don't know, the more valuable I become.

  • Kieran Brown

    Great piece !

  • Carl Sternberg

    Thanks Nate. In a short amount of time I gained valuable knowledge.

  • Aaron Goldstein

    That's what professionals do, thank you for making me more confident about my work.

  • Hannah Walker

    Concise and helpful

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Nate Chai

Leadership Expert

Nate Chai has worked with content in all types of media for the last decade, at school and university in a summer position, and then full time in creating English and business workshops. His last position was as the editor for, one of the largest UK on-line publishers until it was sold about a year ago. At ITProportal, Nate was responsible for the creation of content for key customers, ensuring good editorial processes, recruiting and managing writers. Several of our customers were iconic brands such as Microsoft, Mercedes, and Orange as well as smaller businesses.

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