Maria Marsala, adviser business coach and director of Elevating Your Business, offers her tips on how to build the ideal client bank.
Having a client base made up of ‘ideal’ clients makes networking easier and means an adviser is more likely to enjoy their work, according to high profile business coach Maria Marsala. But how should the adviser go about creating one? Here are Marsala’s six top tips.
1 Start with the client from hell
The first thing to do is to create a list of attributes the client from hell would have, then make the opposite list and burn the first part.
2 Take an imaginary approach
Visualise yourself at a networking event, in a room where you know your ideal client is. Imagine walking up to that person, introducing yourself and having an easy conversation with them. You talk about their favourite hobby which happens to be something you enjoy. Get to know them and find some connections between them and you, in terms of hobbies and passions.
Six steps towards the perfect client base
3 Get the knowledge
You should be able to describe your ideal client in the following ways:
i) Their geographic: What postcode do they live in? Make sure this is where you like to do business.
ii) Their demographic: How old they are, what they do for a hobby, what they do in their spare time, what they read etc...
iii) Their psychographic: Look at what pains them, what their needs are. Ask yourself: why have they come to you? Have they had any bad experiences? Are they going through a transition?
iv) Their ‘technographic’: Work out how computer literate they are. What sort of communication do you want to have? Do you want to contact them via social networks, email or basic telephone conversations?
4 Make ‘the list’
What does your ideal client say? It might be: “I had a bad experience with an old firm”, “I just came into an inheritance” or “I’m quitting my job”. If this is relayed to existing clients it will help them refer suitable new clients. There should be three to five questions in this list.
5 Meet the prototype
Interview one of your clients that already fits the ideal profile. Ask what sort of correspondence they would like – they might say, for example, that they prefer a blog to a newsletter. What social networking sites do they like? Where do they go shopping? All of this contributes to the overall profile.
6 Communicate your findings
The adviser should write all this information down. The team should have it and it should appear on the website. That way, ideal clients will contact the adviser.
Happier and profitable
For Marsala, the point of creating an ideal client profile is that you will then immediately begin seeing clients that suit the criteria.
“I call it the ‘teal car effect’. No sooner had I bought a teal car, than I began to see them everywhere,” she says.
“The more specific you are in each category, the better. And it will mean a much happier and more profitable working life. You will not have to deal with the difficult ‘wishy washy’ or ‘passive aggressive’ clients, because yours will be fully engaged.”
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