I was meeting with a coaching client recently and talking about being intentional in our business to really outline the qualities of our ideal client. My friend Wynne calls this defining your client avatar: what are the qualities that those people have? What is their age group? What do they do? What do they look for? And then who can you think of in your life currently that reminds you of that. That persona is the type of client you seek to serve in your business.
That’s great for setting our intention on what we’re seeking to do and with whom. And yet, we have moments in our business where we hit a wall and things are not moving forward as quickly, as we want, when intention goes out the window and we operate from desperation mode: willing to do business with anybody, willing to make all kind of concessions in our business, or willing to bend the rules in our business. Maybe your business has a known system or process, and we’re willing to circumvent the system to get this one person as part of our business or as our client because we need that one more person to hit the bonus or whatever it is.
My client and I were talking about being intentional in identifying those clients who are just right, and the feeling we have working with them vs. those that don’t quite fit the ideal client mold. You know what that feels like: it’s a struggle all the way. Everything is a challenge, like a tug of war. How the heck did we get to that point? How do we avoid this in the future? The prophet Habakkuk sheds light on this in his book of the Bible.
In the John Maxwell Leadership Bible, Habakkuk is one place we find the concept of vision. Not just what we want to create but who we want involved in that vision, what qualities they have, etc. In Habakkuk 2:2-3 he says “I will stand at my watch and station myself on the ramparts. I will look to see what He will say to me and what answer I am to give to this complaint. The Lord Replied, ‘write down the revelation (or the vision), make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it.” In other words, the vision is clear enough that anyone else knows what to do with it. “For the revelation awaits at a pointed time and it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it lingers, though it takes time, wait for it. It will certainly come and will not delay.” God is saying to Habakkuk “when it’s clear, when the time is right, the vision will be realized.”
I love how John Maxwell pulls this together for us: “Leaders and vision go together like fire and heat, you cannot separate them without destroying their essence. God furnishes some instruction on vision for all of us. A divine vision should be written down, should be distributed to people, should be acted upon.” Regarding verse 3, John further clarifies God’s point: “that is for a select time in the future, it motivates us towards a goal, should not be discarded and will not fail.”
So how do we avoid desperation? We get clear. We get intentional. Intentional about what we know God has called us to do in this business for the Kingdom. Intentional about who we want to be part of this with us. Who is your client avatar? Where does it fit in you business today? Know that it can and will change – the people that I seek to serve as clients and business partners now have very different qualities than I sought at the beginning of my business. The leader I am today will give them a different experience than they would have had when I started. As they grow too, they’ll do different things and seek different people to serve. There have been people that I’ve thought “gosh I’d love to coach them but they’re really not my ideal client,” maybe because they don’t have follow through or I’ve witnessed that they’re really great at starting things but not finishing them and that’s not what I’m looking for in a coaching client. So what is your intention? And who fits that client avatar for you?