The Molly Hicks || Which Came First, The Client or The Program? || Why you need to know your ideal client first.

Which Came First, the Ideal Client or the Program?

So you’re ready to move from one on one services to a one to many philosophy. And you dreamed up this big, beautiful program filled with modules, courses, and group coaching, or whatever floats your fancy. But when it comes time to sell this, if you haven’t thought about your ideal client, then who have you really built the program for?

So which comes first, the ideal client or the program?

I’ve heard many business coaches say, “Don’t worry about your ideal client, just build what you want to build!” But the problem with that is, that you’re starting to build a program that would serve you but you don’t really have anybody to sell it to.

You don’t know if it’s actually going to serve people the way that you want to. You don’t know that it’s actually going to benefit the people you want to work with because you don’t know who it is you want to work with.

So, I say that the ideal client comes first, hands down, every time. 

Big or small business, the client always comes first, your ideal client comes first. 

That’s because if you build something people don’t want, it won’t sell. End of story. Period. So if you know the type of people that you want to work with, and you figure out what their struggles and concerns are, you actually can build something that will benefit them.

If your ideal client is an overtired, working mom, who just doesn’t want to think about food, making food, or planning food, then you would know that a great subscription based item for that parent would be: Done for you family meals that can be reheated.

Now, if that ideal client also doesn’t want to use a microwave, he would need to know that you need to put everything in oven safe dishes. If that parent is concerned about the environment and having as little negative impact on the environment as possible, you might want that dish to be a bamboo baking dish. You see how we had this ideal client. I want to work for moms or parents that are struggling with time and who don’t have time to make meals. Then that can easily shift your product offering. If they’re concerned about the environment. If they don’t want to use a microwae, there’s so many things that could shift how your product works and that’s a tangible situation. It might be a little bit easier to understand. 

But if we switch that to a course or a program, the concept still applies.

So if you are building a course for new wedding planners to move from a moderate market to a luxury market and you’re trying to help them understand timelines, budgets, and changing their experience for their couples, you would need to know that they are established in their business. If you are wanting to help people move from moderate to luxury, then they’re probably established in their business. Your ideal client will already have connections. They’ve had a viable business and a steady six figure revenue stream. You might  just be helping them shift their client base. 

Well, that’s an important fact to know. Because including the basics of wedding planning in your course is not something you would include. You would incorporate things like, an automated storage system, or RSVP management, how to curate the experience, how to price yourself in a new demographic, how to tailor your words and curate your list of vendors. All the things that would step things up a notch.

Whereas, if you were creating a course to help people fit in to wedding planning, you would be building a course that has the foundations of design, the foundations of planning and budget, the foundations of invitations, and catering, what to look for in your vendor network, and how to create your vendor network.

They’re very different product lines. So it’s super important to know who you want to serve.

So how do you figure out who you want to serve as your ideal client? I like to start with the major list of hell nos.

I won’t do the work of coming up with an example because your hell no list should have things that are fundamental truths to you. If you absolutely do not get along with people who like pineapple on their pizza, as obscure as that is, and I love pineapple on my pizza, that would be on your list of major hell nos.

If you have trouble working with people who don’t believe in certain fundamental truths, then you need to put that on your hell no list and slowly figure out what’s happening. I say to start with your hell nos, because it’s a lot easier to know what you don’t want than it is to know what you do want.

Once you’ve made this list of hell knows, you can then start working on things that you love doing the most.

Do you love teaching about floral design, or you love engaging in a group. Maybe you love making worksheets. Once you’ve established those things, you can start fine tuning where these people are psychologically on their journey. Maybe you need to make a certain amount of income so you know you don’t want a large scale group. You want to keep it to maybe 30 people at any given time, you need to set a certain revenue goal, and maybe you build a course based off of what you need people to pay.

Now that you have what you want, figure out how you get there.

To achieve your income goals, you have to sell so many courses. You can then choose if your offer is high end or lower end, and set your sale goals from there. Based on where you have decided to price your offer, next you need to think about the amount of content that you are putting into it.

Let’s say to achieve your goals, you need to sell a course that’s $1500. You need to make sure that you’re putting enough content into the course to make it be seen as valuable enough to warrant $1500 from your ideal client. So you need to be able to help people attain their lofty goals at that kind of level. Your price point will determine how much work you need to put into your course.

Developing a freebie can be a minor component of your program so you can attract your ideal client.

Some examples of this might be a build your product checklist or a worksheet from the bundle you are building. Something that gives them a taste of what they can learn or get from you, without giving it all away.

Get some input from ideal clients you already know

I’m sure there are people that are currently your ideal client in your network of business people or maybe your family and friends. I wouldn’t attempt to sell them the program in any way, shape, or form. I feel like that burns more bridges. Then you might become the person that’s just always trying to sell something. 

But if you ask them to help you with some insight because you value their opinion, that’s always a good place to start!

You might say, “I’m building a course for people who are in a very similar position to what you are in. And I’d love to know what you struggle with most in this area. What would be most beneficial to you or other people in your position?” and see what they say. Talk to a whole bunch of people. If you have a really great following on Instagram, LinkedIn, or Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, you can always ask and have people provide input.

It’s always great to do little surveys in either mobile or type form, so that you can get some input to know what would actually benefit people. Do people like our long trainings, or would they like 10 minute installments of little, teeny, tiny snippets of things since they are busy people?

Now you tailor the program to your ideal clients problems.

It’s really, really, really important to understand that you do plan your program from what their problems are. Let’s say you are an entrepreneur, a business coach, or a life coach, and you’re tailoring a program to people who are super busy or don’t think that taking time for themselves is important. If you tell them to attend an hour-long session, it might not be in their psychological preview at this point, because they feel like they aren’t important enough. They feel like they just don’t have time in the day.

That’s something you need to help work them through. Maybe 5 to 10 minute snippets of courses, and short installments would be a better benefit to them. Then, they would see that as a positive thing, not a negative thing.

The opposite might be that you’re tailoring a course to someone who’s just starting their entrepreneurial journey and they have tons of time and are really invested in what they’re doing. Maybe those people don’t have time, but they feel like investing in themselves is a priority in business then maybe an hour long or hour and a half long sessions every other week would be a bigger benefit to that. 

You see how those struggles can really be important in creating a product. This is why the ideal client comes BEFORE the program.

Does putting all the data together and figuring it all out seem a little much for you? What if I told you that together we could get it all done in a day? Check out one of my Strategy Session: Programs with Intention VIP Days!

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