The Possible Client versus The Probable Client
During a podcast interview, I was once asked what is the first step toward building a successful equine inspired business. (We’re going to assume that the practitioner already has their training and infrastructure in place.) Many people believe that ‘marketing’ is the first step toward bringing in throngs of new clients (because there are soooo many people that will benefit from working with horses!) They get busy coming up with a clever name and a logo, creating business cards, then the website, and so on.
Unfortunately, for the majority of people on this journey, they’re missing two important elements.
- Who they serve
- What results they provide
If you are not crystal clear on (at least) those two things, then you really don’t have a business to market.
I talk to practitioners who are afraid of leaving income on the table by excluding 'possible' clients. If this is you, then I have to tell you, that you are actually turning your back on a whole lot more income by not directly connecting with your most 'probable' clients!
Entrepreneurs who want to serve everyone (especially women) absolutely hate to leave anyone out. I know, I struggled with this myself. The pitfall here is that when you describe your business or service to others your language and 'feeling' of commitment are vague. You don't get specific enough because you don't want to 'exclude' the prospective client.
Here's the catch... by not being specific, you've already excluded the prospective client because they will never feel like you are speaking to them directly. This is whether or not you are having a live conversation, they are visiting your website, or even looking at your business card!
If you have spent hundreds (and thousands) of dollars on marketing materials to 'brand your business' yet you haven't clearly connected to your own expertise and the perfect client then you might as well toss that cash out the window!
Is it possible that any person you’re talking to will become a client? Of course, it’s possible. However, the probability is low.
Instead of sharing your work with horses in a generic (hope you want to be my client) format, share with clarity and specificity. This is how to define yourself as a knowledgeable professional.
Example #1: (no specificity = possibility)
I’m a certified equine-assisted coach. Horses are amazing because they mirror our emotions and provide instant feedback and help people get unstuck so they can live their best life.
Example #2: (with specificity = probability)
I help insecure 8 to 12-year-olds come out of their shell and learn to feel safe in the world. Which is so important for developing friendships, feeling accepted, problem-solving, and happiness. We have fun interacting with horses from the ground because horses are masters at providing immediate feedback with cooperation skills like respect, calmness, and kindness.
The first example is someone trying to talk to everyone and anyone. The second is someone who is committed to her clients and knowledgeable about the results she provides. She will get referrals and clients from her marketing and sharing. (BTW - The second is also an example of the perfect elevator speech! Scroll down to learn how to create yours...)
Even if your approach and your service have shifted recently because of the Covid-19 crisis. It doesn’t change your expertise or the need to speak directly to those you wish to serve in a way that is meaningful to them. Let them know you LOVE them by showing up in a way they can see their best self through your eyes!
This concludes ‘step one’ on the journey from 'mission impossible' to 'mission probable' in creating a successful equine-inspired business.
To Your Horse & Soul Success,
My mission is to empower and educate equine-inspired practitioners in the art of profitable program design and marketing. My dream-come-true is to see equine-assisted personal and professional development be recognized and celebrated for the unique transformational modality that it is, and to become as popular as yoga and Starbucks!