Financial advisors wouldn’t have a lot of luck in the business without clients, no matter how good their branding is. Without knowing who you’re selling to it’s going to be hard to sell yourself. Deciding on an ideal client will help an advisor realize who they have the tools to help and where their energy is best spent as they grow their practice.
The temptation to try and drum up business from anyone and everyone is understandable, but it can hurt financial advisors in the long run. One way to circumvent this problem is by creating an ideal client profile.
An ideal client profile, as the same suggests, is a collection of the ideal characteristics and qualities a financial advisor is looking for in their client base. Investors have the option to research, define and determine what they’re looking for in an advisor–– the advisor shouldn’t overlook their right to do the same!
The ideal client profile should exist in the middle ground between wanting to work with ‘anyone who will pay’ and ‘thirty carbon copies of one ideal client, down to the number of children and homes they have’. The finished product should be a reflection of the goals, attitudes and motivating factors of a collection of clients that a financial advisor best believes they can work with and provide quality solutions to.
An ideal client profile can benefit financial advisors by helping them:
Strengthen Their Brand
A financial advisor should know what they want people to say about them behind their back. Creating a niche, even for advisors who work with broader markets, is an important part of personal branding and can help bring in referrals in the long run. If someone wants to be known as The Retirement Guy it makes sense that their ideal client should be somewhere on the retirement planning spectrum. An advisor who wants to be known as the go-to for UHNW families probably shouldn’t spend valuable time pursuing recently graduated millennials opening their first 401(k)s.
It sounds like common sense when it’s laid out that way, but when the goal is to bring in clients, it can be difficult to turn down interested parties even if they deviate from the ideal client profile. However, financial advising is a two-way relationship. If a client’s goals and the advisor’s goals aren’t built for compatibility in the long run, growing pains will result. An investor with short-term paying-for-education goals wouldn’t seek out an advisor who specializes in retirement. Financial advisors should keep the same mindset. Clients are looking for an advisor who has the expertise to fix their specific problems. Financial advisors need to self-analyze and realize which problems they have the capacity to focus on.
Know Where Clients Are
Profiling an ideal client will help an advisor understand what publications that demographic is reading, and where the energy to position themselves will be best spent.
If the finished profile indicates that retirement planning is the niche an advisor wants to make waves in, then it’s a no-brainer that AARP Magazine and Kiplinger’s Retirement Planning are publications that they should focus on getting coverage in. An advisor who wants to appeal to UHNW clients should being paying attention to Forbes and Barron’s. Those with a knack for stock picking should aspire to contribute to TheStreet.com. This will help solidify an advisor’s reputation with their current client base as well as bring in future business.
Know What Clients Are Looking For
Once a financial advisor knows what type of clients they’re looking for and how to best reach them, keeping the ideal client profile in mind will also help them deliver the content that those clients are looking for. Time spent writing blog posts, creating an e-book, sending out newsletters or launching a mobile app is only time well spent if it’s going to pay off in the end. Defining the ideal client gives advisors a chance to really study and appeal to that demographic. Having a picture of the ideal client in mind is vital because it allows advisors to understand who they are, what they are interested in, where they get their information and how they prefer to be contacted.
There is a lot of information out there about how to create an ideal client profile and what mistakes to avoid to avoid while doing so. No matter what format the end product takes or what factors a financial advisor chooses to take into consideration, one thing is for sure: it’s a step that shouldn’t be skipped. It will lead to a higher level of service, stronger client relationships and a chance for advisors to grow their firm over time.
Amanda Coyle is an Account Coordinator at Flackable, a national public relations and digital marketing agency supporting the communications needs of registered investment advisors (RIAs) and other forward-thinking financial services firms. To learn more about Flackable, please visit www.flackable.com. Follow Amanda on Twitter.