Financial Advisors: How to Identify Your Ideal Client
October 30, 2012
Courting the ideal client is not unlike the dating game. There’s the spark of interest, the pursuit, a series of getting-to-know-you rendezvous, and ultimately an invitation to commit to a long-term relationship. The question becomes—in life and in investing – do you have the right client expectations or are you out of your league?
The Player, much like the discount brokerage, will jump in bed with anyone who’s interested. (“Are your legs tired? Mine are… I’ve been running through your investment scenarios all night.”) The Co-Dependent is seeking constant approval, sending prospects coffee mugs, treating them to lunch and hoping that the dogged effort is enough to earn a modest slice of the portfolio.
Oh-so-rare is the nice guy; the one who is genuinely interested, engaged in meaningful conversation and able to share relevant information. In the dating game, and in the financial arena, you want to be the nice guy. Be the one who makes your client feel special; the one who appreciates them as an individual, and the one who presents relevant investment options. Affluent investors in particular are less interested in the chase than in establishing a connection based upon trust, shared experience or deep industry expertise.
Identifying your ideal client means understanding the market that you’re best able to serve. Develop a complete target client profile based on the following areas.
Demographics & Personal Background
What is the age range, background and education level of your ideal client? What stage are they in their career? How do they spend their discretionary income? What are their short term versus long term needs? What portfolio size are they most likely to have, and is that a fit for your current practice? What level of service do they expect of their advisor? Do you have the structure in place to support clients of this size?
Life Stage, Industry or Niche Experience
How will you relate to this defined client segment? Are you in a similar life stage (generational similarities or family, education and retirement priorities)? Do you have deep experience serving clients in a specific industry (nanotechnology, biometrics, digital communications)? Or, do you specialize in a specific investment niche such as estate planning or business succession planning? How can you combine any of these factors to create a uniquely-defined segment?
Why are you passionate about this area? What expertise, perspective or service can you provide to this segment that no other financial advisor can? How does that passion drive your client interactions and external communications? What do you have to say that is more relatable and actionable than the average investment advice?
Take the time to define your ideal client profile. When you have a distinct vision of the type of clients you best serve, they tend to have a crystal clear understanding of why they should start a relationship with you too.
IncBlot is a consultancy that specializes in applying the field of psychology specifically to the world of financial services. Please be in touch if we can assist with your training, speaking and consulting needs around behavioral finance, time management or a host of other topics.
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