When advisers seek our counsel on how they can attract new clients, we consistently recommend that they conduct a basic exercise: creating an ideal client profile.
This simple yet powerful exercise enables them to list the core characteristics that in their opinion qualify an individual as a potential client. Too often, in their quest for new clients, advisers seem to restrict their focus primarily on investable asset. Using assets as the main gauge and failing to establish the type of client an adviser truly enjoys working with can easily lead to frustration and disappointment.
The creation of an ideal client profile is similar to the process employed by leading marketers around the world. The process is called creating a buyer persona—a fictional representation of an ideal client based on demographics, online habits, personal hobbies and a series of educated speculations about their motivations and concerns. Let me explain.
Marketers constantly analyze and get a well-defined picture of their audiences to create engaging marketing messages that resonate and motivate those people to buy products and services. To do so, they seek to identify themselves in their target audiences and answer as accurately as possible specific questions, such as:
- Who are our ideal customers?
- What needs are they seeking to satisfy?
- What are they concerned about?
- What do they expect from a product?
- Do they have specific interests and/or hobbies?
- What motivates them to favor a product or service over another?
- Where do they get support and information for their purchasing decisions?
Creating an ideal client profile in this fashion is a highly rewarding effort that empowers advisers to attain two key strategic goals:
- Determine the key traits that characterize the type of clients they wish to work with and avoid pursuing those who will not be a fit.
- Craft specific marketing messages and deploy client service efforts that fully reflect such characteristics.
Let’s look at some basic steps that will help you create your ideal client profile:
Client Portfolio Review
Begin with a review of your current portfolio of clients to single out your top five to 10. Identify if they share a common denominator, such as professions, hobbies, marital status and academic background. Also, think about how they became your clients. Did you pursue them directly? Were they referred to you from a client or a center of influence?
Define the age range of your ideal clients and how you will relate to them. Furthermore, think about the type of profession and industry they’re in and assess if you have enough experience to serve that type of client. Identify the specific life stage your ideal client is going through. Is it similar to yours? If yes, will this help you better understand and anticipate his/her needs? If not, what challenges will it pose for you?
Goals and Expectations
Create an image of your ideal client’s short- and long-term goals. Imagine the type of portfolio and asset allocation you would have to construct to match their lifestyle. Picture the financial dreams and needs you will be asked to fulfill. Think of the level of service they’d expect from you and your team and ask yourself: Do I have, or will I be able to have, a structure in place that will enable me to support a client of this size?
Knowing the type of personality types that you best enjoy interacting with will exponentially increase your odds of attracting your ideal client. For example, if you enjoy going through several meetings and phone calls to explain specific products and/or strategies to educate and support your clients in their investment decisions, than retirees rather than overly busy corporate executives or entrepreneurs may be the ideal fit for you.
Seek to define the type of hobbies and interests that your ideal client pursues. This will enable you to create specific marketing initiatives tailored to you client’s interests that will have a strong impact and be highly appreciated.
Creating an ideal client profile can be an exercise as detailed as you want. The bottom line is: I highly recommend that advisers take this exercise seriously and make it the foundation of their prospecting process.
i-Impact Group Inc.