How to identify your ideal customer

As financial professionals, we wear a lot of hats.

Whether you’re a Series 7 broker rep or RIA, the job responsibilities of many independent advisors span across the entire sales and delivery process (less so in larger organizations):

  • marketing/PR: we’re hosting events, advertising in local media, doing our own PR work
  • sales: you’re setting up, nurturing leads, and closing them
  • delivery: the client calls you because you own the relationship
  • customer satisfaction: you live and die by the sword and are responsible for keeping your clients happy

That’s a lot of responsibility.

Identifying your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)

And that’s why it’s key to ensure that you’re working with the right clients. Right is subjective and will be different for everyone but it’s super important to make sure that you can identify and work with your ideal clients.

In Predictable Revenue: Turn Your Business into a Sales Machine, author Aaron Ross describes the techniques he used to build CRM giant, into a massive sales organization.

In his world, growing sales begins with identifying the Ideal Customer Profile (ICP).

That’s important for 2 reasons:

  1. targeting: once you know who you’re marketing to, it’s easier to reach them
  2. disqualifying others: If you have a specific profile in mind, it’s easier to pass on poor clients that will take time and not deliver revenue

Once you determine that you’re targeting customers/clients in the upper right-hand quadrant, you can begin to break down more specifics about them. You’ll want to target your client using the following terms:

  • Ideal requirements from financial service provider
  • Ideal geography
  • Ideal pain points you solve
  • Interesting industries to serve (you have a special skill to help)
  • Find influencers/referrals
  • Preferred communication medium
  • Frequency of communication required

Look for red flags and deal breakers

Aaron Ross also counsels sales professionals to bubble up early red flags or signals that a prospect may not be a good fit. Here are some things that may be deal breakers for you:

  • They just left their previous advisor because _________________.
  • Their tolerance for fees is only _________________.
  • “Know-it-alls”: We know what we’re doing — why would we need an advisor.
  • Geography

Advisors want to do it all…can’t

Many advisors I meet doing want to do this exercise. The most common response I hear from these types is Why should I turn down an interested paying client?

That may work in the beginning of practice building, though in my experience, it never ends well.

Identifying your ideal customer maximized revenues and time spent chasing them and minimizes delivery and satisfaction problems.

Leave the non-ideal prospects behind and focus solely on those who fit your profile.

Who is your ideal client? Let me know in the comments.



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