how to read your clients' minds

[reading time: 4 minutes]

​How to read you ideal leads minds… so you can greet them with the perfect message

A big unknown for many coaches and consultants is whether their messaging is doing its job of attracting and engaging your leads.

Because no matter how well you think you know your clients, unless you were once one of them, there are always gaps in what you know about them.

But that unknown can be fixed using Voice of Client research.

Voice of Client (VoC) data are the words your clients use to talk about their problems and desired outcomes. And without doubt or argument from any copywriter worth their salt, VoC research is the golden key to attracting, nurturing and ultimately signing your best-fit leads.

In this newsletter, I’m going to show you how it can work for you.

The power of client language

Say you’re a fitness coach and you’re promoting a program that helps people lose weight they put on over the holiday season. You might have a headline like, ‘Undo the Holiday-Season spread in time for summer.’

Then one day you start talking to some of your clients about their ideal outcomes and the conversation turns to clothes they keep that no longer fit. Someone says, ‘Yeah, I still have my college jeans. I’d love to be able to fit back into those.’ Everyone laughs and agrees.

That’s your headline.

“Fit back into your college jeans. In time for summer.”

It’s a promise + deadline. And it comes directly from your clients.

Voice of Client research

Voice of Client (VoC) is the gold standard of market research.

It tells you what really matters to your future clients, what keeps them awake at night with worry, what motivates them to act and what stops them, and it gives you the language they use to talk about all of that.

Do your Voice of Client research properly and your marketing will be deeply empathetic and highly relevant.

Here are two ways to carry out your own VoC research…


Interviewing your clients or prospective clients is where you’ll learn the most. Here are your guidelines…

  • Interview one-to-one. Group interviews have their place but suffer from groupthink bias
  • Keep interviews short. I usually run interviews between 20-30 minutes
  • Start broad and narrow in for each question. For example, ‘Tell me why you are looking for a coach to help with giving corporate speeches?’ Then use the 5 Whysframework to dig deeper
  • Pay attention to causes and desired outcomes. Again, dig deep with each answer with the 5 Whys
  • Don’t fill silences immediately. Give the person you are talking to time to think about their answers and tease ideas out
  • Record the interview (with permission). You need the actual phrasing they use

On a project I did for a client a couple of years back, I was repeatedly told by their B2B buyers that what blew them away was the speed of service my client delivered.

It was a major reason they kept coming back for more.

But my client had no idea this was a major value point and had never used this in their marketing to promote themselves. Now they do.

Review Mining

Don’t want to or can’t talk to your clients? Review mining is a technique you can use without talking to a living soul. Here’s how it works…

Say you are a business leadership coach and you have a program for people taking up a new leadership role.

You head over to Amazon and start reading reviews of books on your topic. You come across these snippets…

“Leaders who seek help about imposter syndrome, don’t have imposter syndrome at all. They are really lacking the skill of starting a new role.”

”The author outlines the obstacles faced by professionals in new positions suggesting solutions that are practical and implementable.”

“Transitioning to a new role can cause anxiety and stress for weeks, but this book […] helps diagnose your situations, define the core challenges, and design plans to create momentum which results in a more successful and comfortable transition.’

Here’s how you can use these in your copy…

“Starting a new leadership role can leave you filled with imposter syndrome. But the real problem is very different and much easier to fix. It’s having a practical and actionable plan you have 100% faith in to get you through your first 60 days.

“My program will equip you with that plan plus the core skills you need. So you can diagnose your situation, define the core challenges, and design a plan that creates momentum and delivers results.”

See how this copy is a reworking of review snippets I pulled from the Amazon reviews. And that was from just 10 minutes of reading. So, you can imagine what an hours’ work might reveal.


Knowing what’s important to your clients, how they see and talk about you, what they really value and the language they use is marketing gold.

And it can help you improve your services and innovate, too.

So, if you ever decide to hire a copywriter and they say they’d like to interview your clients, jump at the chance.

(It’s a near-universal truth that copywriters struggle with getting our clients to see the value of these interviews. Please, please do not be afraid of talking to your clients. It shows you care.)

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