One of the often quoted rules in any business is the 80-20 rule. By this we mean that 80% of your firm’s revenues, profitability and “enjoyment factor” typically come from 20% of your client base. How can you improve on this ratio and pursue more revenue, profitability and enjoyment out of a larger percentage of your clients? One idea is in truly understanding who your ideal client is and whom your firm is best able to serve.
A key aspect of this process is to define an “ideal client” profile.
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An ideal client is someone who values your advice and guidance, is willing to pay for it, and can truly benefit from your service set. This definition is not solely based on asset levels, but rather rooted in those who are motivated and serious about their financial decisions, are a true fit for the services you provide and are willing and comfortable in delegating to a financial professional so they can pursue their life goals and objectives.
How can you go about building a process for identifying your ideal client? For many firms, often the answer lies in looking at their current client base. As a quick example exercise take a moment and list in a spreadsheet all of your “A” clients with whom you enjoy working and who value your services and generate a high level of revenue or referrals. Across this column, then create a small list of criteria such as occupation, industry, age, sex, marital status, geography, hobbies, etc. You can then create a matrix that matches all of the different services that you provide. From this matrix you can hope to see a consistent pattern emerge that may help create your ideal client profile matching the clients that best fit the services you provide.
For example, perhaps ABC Advisory firm’s “A” clients are mostly small business owners who are in the service industry and getting close to retirement. ABC Advisory has an expertise in helping business owners transition from business income to investment income through business planning, valuation and succession planning. As a result, ABC Advisory can now focus on building out the service set, expertise and referral network to attract more of their types of profitable relationships.
Taken to the next level, we have worked with leading firms to add these types of qualifying questions to their prospecting process, helping increase their efficiencies in closing the right types of clients for them. According to Miller Heiman(1), a leading sales training and consulting company, 35% of your prospects will not be in your sweet spot, and you may be wasting valuable time and resources trying to “close” on prospects that don’t fit your profile.
With this understanding, any firm can create a more compelling marketing message and promotional campaign to directly target their ideal clients and centers of influence for referrals. Additionally, by creating a more specialized service delivery, the firm may gain efficiencies and can scale more quickly, helping enhance overall firm profitability.
Thus, being able to define, identify and articulate your ideal client profile will not only go a long way towards enhancing your firm’s productivity but also towards enhancing your enjoyment, knowing you are working with the right clients.
George Tamer, Director, Strategic Relationships, TD AMERITRADE Institutional
(1)TD AMERITRADE and Miller Heiman are separate and unaffiliated and are not responsible for one another’s services and policies.
TD AMERITRADE, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC. This is not an offer or solicitation in any jurisdiction where we are not authorized to do business. Past performance of a security does not guarantee future results. All investments are subject to investment risk, including possible loss of the principal invested.