A prospect became a new client just as she left her tailored-solution meeting with us. My heart is happy knowing we will serve and help her at a time when she needs us most. A mutual friend referred her to us after the death of her spouse. She was in grief, shock, and pain. She needed a guide, and we were there to be a gentle partner in the months ahead.
She is my ideal client. When I am helping her, it makes me feel that I am living my purpose. I have helped many others just like her, and I adore and love her. I want to help make what she is going through as easy as possible, and in fact we have created a process to do exactly that. I know what is coming in the months ahead, and I can be proactive and anticipate what she needs because others have gone before her. This gives her peace that we are the right partner for her.
As advisors, it is helpful and a good business decision to identify whom your ideal client is. If you know whom you love to serve, it will be easier for you to find them! Your ideal client is someone that you are uniquely qualified to serve, you enjoy/love working with and is a profitable relationship. Our own experiences prepare us in identifying who our ideal client is. For me this took time, and a theme emerged in my firm for our ideal clients. If I could give my younger self advice, it would have been to intentionally develop and identify our ideal clients sooner.
The more specific your ideal client is identified, the better. This includes knowing their demographic, geographic and psychographic information. Think about your favorite client and list everything about them — age, gender, race, location, employment status, personality, values, attitudes, interests, lifestyles, beliefs, etc. My ideal client is a young widow, age 30-40 with young children. Her loss was unexpected which includes settlements/insurance planning, she is from the Pacific Northwest, and she values and needs guidance in all financial decisions. The more you can understand your ideal client, the more you will attract them.
You are often your ideal client. Another ideal client we serve is the business owner. In my experience building my business, I have attracted clients just like me. As I have grown more successful, so have my business clients. As you change and evolve, your ideal client will too. As I hired more advisors and support staff, they took over earlier client relationships, which has freed my time up to develop new ideal clients. Again, I believe this will either happen accidently or intentionally and the latter is always better. The more you lean into whom you want to serve, the more you will naturally repeal the wrong ones.
Be clear on whom you serve in your marketing. Be authentic and outspoken in your marketing efforts, including on your website and social media. This will help attract your ideal clients. When I coach other financial advisors on developing their ideal client, a common objective is, “I don’t want to turn anyone away.” My advice is to turn them away if they are not the right fit! They are someone else’s ideal client, not yours! In my early years I took on all clients just to build the business, but that turned into headaches. Have you ever taken on a client with that gut feeling that they are not a good fit? You end up changing your process, making exceptions, and working really hard at making them happy. We have since had to fire clients that do not fit our model.
Develop a process to attract and serve only ideal clients. People trust a proven process and want to be taken on a journey. Create and map out your ideal client journey. The steps include attracting them through marketing efforts, engaging with them, providing a tailored solution, and then guiding them as a client. Each step guides your ideal client along and naturally upgrades them from prospect to client through the process. It should feel like a natural flow to your ideal clients, and the wrong ones will exit your journey. This is what you want! Your own confidence is crucial in developing your process. We have found technology is the power that helps us make our process scalable, repeatable and successful.
If you do this right, your ideal client will feel led through this process as if it were designed exclusively for them. Recently I was presenting as part of our engage step and a prospect emailed me after and said, “I feel like you actually care about me and truly want to help. Almost like you’ve taken my hand. Thank you for this gift at a time when I feel vulnerable, scared and discouraged about money.” I was presenting to an audience of 50 people and she felt that. Wow, now that is whom we want as a client.