Recently we’ve seen a surge of new clients looking for advice. But will these new clients really add value to your business? Zurich Investments shares some tips on how to grow your business by focusing on the ideal client.
A report released by Investment Trends suggests that improved investor confidence since the GFC has led to a surge of new clients looking for advice. Of course this is good news for advisers looking to get new clients in the door, but is every client who comes knocking valuable to your business?
The truth is that most successful practices don’t take on every client they can. They choose clients based on key criteria that determines whether they will be a good fit for their business. And by considering the all-important question “Who do you want to work with?” you can really start honing in on which clients will (and won’t) add value to your business, and help it grow in the long run.
Here are some tips on how you can grow your business by focusing on the ideal client.
Define your ideal client
It’s important to take the time to define your ideal client. Ask yourself which clients you enjoy working with the most and what aspects of their personality are important in your relationship with them.
Consider your niche – is it SMEs or SMSFs, and understand in depth who they are and what they are looking for.
Also think about the dollar value you need each client to bring to your business to make a profit. It’s commonly assumed that an ideal client is a High Net Worth client but this isn’t necessarily always the case, so make sure you consider the complete financial picture for each client. You may be surprised by the result.
Understand your ideal client and what they want
Clients are getting quite savvy these days and they want to know they are getting value for their money. This is why it’s critical to develop an in-depth knowledge of your client and understand what they would like from you on an ongoing basis. By understanding who they are, what they want to achieve and their likes and dislikes, you will be better equipped to build a service offer around what is meaningful and valuable to them.
Be definite about your criteria and don’t be afraid to apply it
Once you’ve done the work to determine your ideal client, you can then apply the criteria to your existing and prospective clients to clearly identify who meets your requirements and who doesn’t.
Don’t be afraid to identify who you don’t want to work with (these clients could actually be costing you money). And remember you can have more than one ideal client group, but just remember that you’ll find it much easier to target your service offering if you are only dealing with one or two.
Develop your service offer to suit your ideal client/s
Clients will be more willing to pay for your services if your service offer meets their needs. Design your service offer to attract those types of clients you’d like to work with and market to them.
When working with the ‘right’ type of client for your business, you’ll find that marketing to, and retention of them much easier. Make sure you can link your services back to the outcomes your clients are looking to achieve and ask your clients for their feedback along the way.
Ensure your service offer is profitable for you
When you are conducting a review of your service offer you should always ensure that it’s profitable – full stop. You must understand what it costs to deliver services to your clients. Usually you do this by conducting a full review of the client engagement and review process.
Be sure to involve people who are key to the process and do this early on. Businesses that do this in a robust manner show consistently higher average engagement and ongoing fees than practices that didn’t.
Clearly articulate your value proposition
You must be able to articulate what it is that you do for a client that’s valuable to them. Put yourself in their shoes to understand the value of their objectives, and what it means to them to be making progress and how they feel when they see their situation improving.
By understanding value from their perspective, you will be able to articulate how you are helping them in a way that’s meaningful to them. Showing them how you are meeting their needs on a regular basis can easily be incorporated into your regular client review process.
Above all, you need to monitor the performance of your business on a regular basis to understand whether your assets are in fact growing and how.
This isn’t just about monitoring which clients are walking in the door, but also keeping an eye on any clients you are losing at the other end. Understanding which clients are the most important revenue generators in your practice can also help you assess whether the services you have provided have been profitable or if it’s time for an increase in fees.
By taking the time to understand the position of your business – where it has come from and where you want to be, you’ll truly be able to see the impact of working with the ideal client and in particular, which clients are adding the most value to your business.
 Investor Trends Planner Business Model Report, May 2013.