How to Find Your Ideal Client
In previous blogposts on the complexity of selling financial and professional services, I emphasized the importance of your value proposition and key differentiator.
Now that you know how to translate these elements into your competitive advantage, how do you identify those prospects most likely to respond to your message? And once you identified the ideal prospect, how do you find large numbers of them?
Unless you’re in start-up mode, look to your existing clients for clues. They can help point you in the right direction. Better still, your existing clients and your best prospects possess similar demographic and psychographic profiles (incomes, professions, industries), and they share similar beliefs, attitudes, values, priorities, and even buying patterns.
For example, if you have a several manufacturing clients that you’ve helped with business transition planning, narrow it down, and ask yourself: Is there an industry the majority come from? ; What is the size of the company or the age of the founder? Build on your success by calling on companies with similar structures.
Ask Good Questions
If you ask a subset of existing clients specifically why they bought from you, and you learn they felt comfortable with you, your firm, your evaluation process, reputation and client service, you’re already gathering some psychographic data—mini-profiles of your clients’ buying values. Dig deeper and ask them to reduce their reason for buying to one sentence. They may say, you were reliable and gave them peace of mind. Then, you can use these statements to approach similar organizations.
Surprisingly, many advisors or consultants use the old hunch method to profile prospects, without the science of demographics and psychographics. That’s risky business.
Expand the Approach
Look your sales over the last two to three years. Analyze the data to determine who bought what? Exactly how did you find and sell those clients? Why did they buy what they bought? Use the research to identify similar firms, then put a target list together.
Your existing clients may retain the same law firm or accounting firm. Use LinkedIn to learn which companies are connected. Often, companies connect through memberships in trade groups such as the Chamber of Commerce, Vistage, YPO, and thousands more. If you focus on groups like physicians, law firms, accounting firms, engineering, you’ll discover tight linkage. Join their associations, when possible.
Do you know what it is about your product or service or company that makes it attractive to your profiled prospect or client? Do you completely understand why they buy from you and not your competitors? Perhaps, it is the halo effect of others who trust you. Or their advisors referred you. You need to capitalize on these deep pools of potential.
In its 2009 benchmark study on How Clients Buy, the RAIN Group cited that 90 percent of respondents said referral from colleagues and referral from other service providers brought them to a given vendor. When you find other advisors or consultants who also stand to benefit from you work, and connect for referrals, you’ve just supercharged your marketing.
Another motivator shared by RAIN, clients buy on “personal recognition or awareness.”
As you target prospect companies, at a minimum, build a solid data base, then begin to invite guests to webcasts, seminars, VIP private dinners, opt-in newsletters, or share self-authored white papers.
Above all, be certain to center all your marketing efforts around a well-thought-out educational and communication strategy.
See you on the upside,