You’ll serve clients better if you’ve discovered and defined those who you serve best and then develop yourself as a subject matter expert around them.


Jon Lagerstedt: This week, we’re talking about discovering, defining, and developing your client base.  I’m Jon Lagerstedt.

Todd Crawley: And I’m Todd Crawley.

Jon: And this is The Essential Practice podcast. You know, Todd, it’s interesting.  More and more conversation comes around segmenting your client base, and I think the first step here is when you think about discovering likeminded clients – you know the old adage of “birds of a feather flock together.”  What comes to your mind in helping an advisor discover and identify likeminded people?

Todd: That’s a good point, Jon, and to me, this falls under “How do you most efficiently run your business?”  And that is defining who your client base is, but more importantly, defining who do you like to work with. And that is the biggest challenge that we face when we talk to advisors out here, getting them to be introspective and look at their book of business and say, “Who are your best clients and is there any commonality there?”  And the most successful ones that I’ve run across over the last couple of decades of doing this are those that actually know who that is, and they leverage that pool of likeminded clients and broaden it out and become an expert in that one area.

Jon: Yeah, that makes a lot of sense.  So as a financial advisor, you may consider looking at your book of business and think about those people that bring that satisfaction into your role as a financial advisor.  Then really think about and develop a list or some type of Excel sheet or something that lists those key attributes of those folks.  Then find out what those commonalities are, and then you can start discovering about yourself and who you like to work with because a lot of it typically crosses over into your client base.

Todd: And a couple of examples that I can throw out there: One is a team that I have known for years.  It’s a two-person team and they focus their entire business around divorced women and widows.  And they have gone out and gotten education around that.  They’ve got designations around that.  That’s their target market, and they have built their business around that.  They are known in that town as the team that helps women divorcees or widows manage their money and build a plan around it.  And that’s powerful.

And then I guess on the other end of the spectrum, there are several teams that specialize in business owners.  And there are a lot of different facets that go along with business owners. They need estate planning work. They need some tax work. And they have immersed themselves into that “I’m the expert financial advisor to business owners.”  Now there’s a lot to do between just talking about it and doing it. It’s taken years to craft that brand or that image, but there’s no better time than now to start to look and say, like you said, who do you like to work with? What are the common traits of your best clients? And maybe there is a way to broaden that out.

Jon: Yeah, you can broaden it out from a client perspective or even narrow in on what is your expertise, as you were defining with the divorced and widow situation.  You can narrow it down and once you become established in these markets, it sounds like these financial advisors and their teams have really entrenched themselves as these subject matter experts and then you start to develop this client base with all these likeminded people that are looking for the same solutions that you enjoy providing.

Todd: Absolutely.

Jon: So Todd, as we wrap it up today, we really talked about how you can discover one’s self and then really look at your book of business and say, “Who are these clients that I’m invigorated when they walk through the door?  I’m excited to see them.”  And then figure out what those commonalities are amongst all your top clients, and if there are, to your point, get specialized in a certain aspect of the business or a need amongst our community.  Then you start to develop your client base with very likeminded people who you genuinely enjoy working with.

Todd: Yeah, exactly.  And this doesn’t have to be a daunting task. This is something that happens over time. And two years down the road, you’ll find out that you have created a referral machine, you have helped your brand and your community, and you’ve really enjoyed coming to work every day because you’re working with clients and people that are similar to you and have liked interests that you do. And I think it’s a win-win for everybody.

Jon: As a financial advisor or anyone listening to us today, you can even ask your top clients or your closest friends and relatives to give you that really candid feedback.  “What is it that you find more interesting about me?  Or what are those attributes about me that stand out?  Because I’m really trying to define my client base with likeminded people and I have my own perceptions of who I am and what I do.  But sometimes it’s nice to get a little dose of reinforcement there, as well.”

Todd: Absolutely, Jon.  That’s a great idea.

Jon: Todd, that’s about all the time we have today, but hopefully our listeners will join us next week.  With that, I’m Jon Lagerstedt.

Todd: And I’m Todd Crawley.

Jon: And this is The Essential Practice podcast.


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