Is your best client always the one with the highest net-worth? Many advisors would disagree.
While a good amount of assets are nice, the truth is that some clients are easier to work with than others. Maybe working with them feels more natural, you have things in common with them, they trust your judgment, etc.
Your ideal client is likely a combination of all of these things, but here's a definition we think applies:
Your ideal client is someone with needs and goals that you feel most prepared to handle given your background, experience, and the tools available.
When you identify your ideal client persona, you can perfect a niche and build relationships that are natural and mutually beneficial. You can then use that information to better target your marketing efforts so you’re reaching the right people, and streamline your technology stack by using what provides the greatest benefit to those clients.
A little bit of focus allows you to demonstrate value in a more powerful way.
How To Identify Your Ideal Client Persona
The journey toward finding your ideal clients begins with some introspection. Who do I connect best with? Where can I make the greatest impact?
These questions should precede any business strategy, and one advisor learned this lesson the hard way.
Jason is an advisor in the town of Mountain View, California, located in Silicon Valley. About two years ago, Jason decided to go solo and got started building his client base. Gathering assets was his big focus, at least in the beginning, so he primarily targeted executives and wealthy investors in the area. He was having several meetings a week, and even signed a couple, but most of these potential clients already had financial advisors. His efforts felt like an uphill climb.
After almost six months, and with much fewer clients than he’d expected, he decided to start reaching out to the larger startup community (engineers, administrative, IT, etc.) and hope for more success.
Within six months, he’d nearly tripled his assets under management, had nearly 100 clients, and was in the process of bringing on a junior advisor.
Why did his new strategy work so well?
Jason and his clients were similar in age, which allowed him to relate on a more personal level. Having an advisor that understood their needs was important to them.
Jason’s new audience was incredibly tech-savvy. As primarily engineers and developers, they understood what good technology should look like, and Jason’s tech stack was sharp and intuitive (a big selling point).
Because Jason’s technology automated so many of his time-consuming administrative processes, he could devote more time to his prospecting efforts. Once he found a formula that worked, he was able to grow his business very quickly.
Some of these clients, while not high-level executives, still had six-figure salaries and even stock options with the startups they worked for. They carried great long-term potential into Jason’s business.
It’s not that Jason’s initial attempts were unsuccessful because he’s a bad advisor. He simply needed to refocus his skills toward a different audience.
Jason was able to tap into the needs of these investors because of his focus, experience, and the tools he had available. Today’s investors do tend to judge a business’s credibility on their consumer-facing tech, and Jason’s investment in this area paid off. With his new clients being young, high-wage earners in a growing industry, Jason also ensured that his business has a long-term client base.
Finding a niche and targeting the right clients has a number of benefits, but you’ll need to evaluate these questions and see if they provide insight on where you should focus your efforts:
What is a well-employed industry in my area?
What is the median age of people in this industry?
Do I have the tools to comfortably serve 25, 50, or even 100 clients?
Who are my best clients right now, and what traits do they have in common?
Patterns will appear if you pay attention to the signs. Are your favorite clients falling into similar ages, occupations, or life stages? Do they have similar concerns or goals?
Where to Find the Ideal Client
Once you’ve identified your ideal client, you’ll need to make sure you’re reaching them where they are.
Marketing is a skill that many advisors have to learn the hard way, but there is valuable data out there that can help make your marketing efforts more successful. One principle that’s especially helpful is known as The Four Rights: the right message, to the right audience, at the right time, in the right medium.
Research suggests that 26% of ultra-high-net-worth clients are regular LinkedIn users. While this doesn’t necessarily mean it should be your strategy, it does show that some mediums have more relevance to your audience than others. Discussing student loan debt on Twitter may not appeal to retirees. An Instagram story about social security withdrawals won’t appeal to Millenials, either.
Not all social platforms are created equal. We made The Advisor's Guide to Social Media to weigh the benefits of each platform with data you can use to maximize their efficiency. There’s nothing wrong with trial and error, but there are resources to make that process just a little less painful.
When you identify your ideal client persona, you focus your efforts where they add the most value. In Jason’s example, having the right technology was an important factor in attracting the clients he wanted. Find your edge and use that to promote yourself confidently.