Your Ideal Patient, err, Client

Do you struggle when asked about your ideal client or customer? I’m embarrassed to say I always do. Maybe it’s because I’ve worked with everyone from teenage hockey draft picks to CEOs, to actors, authors, and sex trade workers. Or is it because I’m not disciplined enough to think about it deeply. At a recent conference, we were tasked with the same question, and I shared with my table group that, like a GP, I had no control over what my patients/clients needed help with. But that’s not really the question, is it? If I were a GP, I would say my ideal patient is one who doesn’t waste my time, knows what they need help with, follows instructions, and is on time. Which made me reflect on my favourite client experiences.

Some years ago, I had a call from a young woman working in Earls Restaurants’ Head Office, in HR. She was interested in public speaking training and coaching for herself and a couple of colleagues, so I did up the proposal, the agenda and the price and sent it off to her. In a matter of days, she called back to say Yes…. but. The BUT was the executive team, who she passed the proposal before, wanted to do the training first! What followed was a very lively day with the entire senior executive team, but it didn’t end there. I was then asked to do the same workshop for the regional managers, then a North American tour of the cities where Earls had opened restaurants, speaking to chefs, restaurant managers, and staff.

So now if you were to ask me about my ideal client, I might say this: someone motivated enough to look for help with the critical skill of communicating effectively, whose initiative turns into a company-wide experience. I’m also incredibly happy to say that Earls President, Mo Jessa, who started out washing dishes at Earls while a student, still sees the results of that program years later.

Joanna Piros