Milwaukee: “I don’t know how to explain it, but my business plan has been on my mind constantly – and not in a good way,” Jay explained to his coach during a coaching session. Then, without realizing it, Jay created a teaching moment as he continued his stream of consciousness ”I want to bring in 15 new affluent clients this year, but if I’m honest, I don’t have a clue where to begin.”
In discussing Jay’s concern with his coach, it became obvious that he, like most advisors, wanted more affluent clients but had yet to determine the profile of the ideal affluent client with whom he wanted to service. Within a few days of that conversation, I had the opportunity to poll two audiences on this topic during the Q & A sessions following my keynote. The vast majority not only were lacking an ideal profile client, they weren’t sure what it was.
Let me walk you through the 4 steps I shared with both audiences, and Jay’s coach shared with him during his subsequent coaching session.
4 Steps in Finding Your Ideal Client Profile
Most advisors have a good idea of the type of clients they enjoy serving. This is a good place to begin, but it’s not enough. You also need a list of criteria that will enable you to identify the right people, determine where they cluster, and be able to qualify them as prospective ideal clients. This creates the framework for an effective marketing campaign; providing direction and focus.
Step 1: Profile Your Top Clients:
Think of this in terms of conducting a top client audit. You’re looking for commonalities that can lead you to an ideal client profile. Naturally you want to include basic financial criteria such as assets and annual revenue generated, but to arrive at your ideal profile you’ll need to go deeper. You want to look at occupation, family status, hobbies, civic involvement, spheres-of-influence, and personality. Do you enjoy working with this client? Do they take your advice?
Step 2: Identify the Patterns:
After you’ve completed your top client audit, it’s time to study your handiwork in a search for areas of commonality. Do you have a number of clients who are middle management at a large company in the area? This was Jay’s case; he had three good clients who worked at a major health care provider. But this goes beyond occupation. Do some of your top clients play golf? Are a few actively involved in a charitable cause? Is there a referral source that some of your clients have in common? Is there a connection within any of their spheres-of-influence?
Step 3: Profile Your Ideal Client:
Connecting the dots (identifying the patterns) in step 2 should prepare you for creating your ideal client profile. It’s not uncommon for advisors to feel somewhat uncomfortable at this stage. After all, using Jay as an example, he had only three clients connected by occupation and firm. But these clients also had other commonalities; assets under management, annual revenues generated, services provided, and civic involvement. Jay also realized that eight of his top clients were avid golfers, with four belonging to the same club. These golf-in-common clients were similar in profile to his corporate clients in terms of assets, revenue and services.
This step activates your Rainmaker antenna. It helps you identify prospective clients more easily. How? Because you have established a focus that allows you to see opportunities that would formerly pass you by.
Step 4: Refine Your Marketing:
Every aspect of your marketing should focus on your ideal. Jay, a golfer himself, contacted the golf pro at the club where four of his avid golf clients were members. With help of the club pro, Jay was able to schedule a “polar bear” golf event on the Saturday prior to Super Bowl weekend. The event involved a lesson on the short game, a round of buddy-golf (each client would play with a friend), Jay with the pro, with golf being followed with drinks and casual dining that included spouses.
Don’t worry if there are no avid golfers in your top client list, or if you think this type of marketing is way outside of your budget. The objective here is to determine the places you need to spend more time marketing. This may be getting more involved in your community, strategically increasing your interaction with referral alliances, or socializing with your top clients (husband and wife) with the strategic intent of uncovering the name of and individual in their sphere-of-influence that can lead you to an introduction.
Think in terms of sourcing names from your clients-in-common, conducting intimate events that would be attractive to them, increasing your involvement with referral alliance partners, networking, and attending social events that your clients-in-common are likely to attend. Of course, you’re doing all the aforementioned with your Rainmaker antenna fully activated.
Now you’ve established your critical path upon which every aspect of your Relationship Management-Relationship Marketing Nexus is traveled. In other words, every activity should be linked to strengthening top clients-in-common relationships and acquiring new clients of a similar profile.
Matt Oechsli  is the author of The Art of Selling to the Affluent. His firm, The Oechsli Institute  does ongoing research  and coaching  for nearly every major financial services firm in the US. To take the first step towards coaching, complete the pre-coaching business profile  for a complimentary consultation.