Would you be more passionate about prospecting if you could clone your best clients? Prospecting is key to the success of your business, after all. It’s likely that you’d view prospecting as less of a chore and more of a means to a rewarding goal if your prospects had interests and motivating influences for investing that were similar to those of your top clients.
Let’s say you could clone those top clients. A systematized way to accomplish this is to consider your favorite clients’ characteristics of that you would like to duplicate, or as I like to call it, their “clone factor.” The foundation of the clone factor can be found in a 2001 survey of high-net-worth consumers performed for JP Morgan by Iconoculture, a Minneapolis-based consumer research firm. In the study, a team of cultural anthropologists examined the lifestyles, values, and attitudes of those with $1 million to $5 million in investable assets in New York, Chicago, Dallas, Philadelphia, Washington, and Palm Beach. The researchers looked for evidence of underlying emotive values, called “passion points.” They then decoded these passion points into a set of values related to the wealth culture. This study resulted in the discovery of five “wealth signs,” or clusters of trends and their underlying consumer values, that predominate among the wealthy. The wealth signs are The Good Life, Artisan, Unplugged, Legacy, and Wellville (see “Using Passion Points to Build Your Practice” table at bottom).
You can establish your clients’ wealth signs, and, thus, their “clone factor,” by determining how highly correlated their behaviors and values are with each sign’s emotive values.
When you look at your clients, you will probably find most falling into one or two wealth signs. Focusing in on your clients’ characteristics this way will help you focus your prospecting efforts. So instead of prospecting by asking for random referrals or putting on generic client seminars, you can now develop a more targeted approach by prospecting for passion points. This will give you a better chance of cloning the characteristics of your best clients.
Be sure to tie your financial planning expertise into the event you sponsor. For example, it’s important to take a fairly low-key approach and to never push for a sale during the initial meeting. Rather, first work to gain your prospects’ trust, and educate them about your planning expertise. When you include an investment presentation, link it to your theme and keep it short–about 20 minutes. These presentations should be on financial planning topics and not product-specific. Remember that these events are for you to build a rapport with potential prospects, not to sell to them. If a current client or friend invited the prospect, be sure to leverage your existing relationship to build instant credibility.
For follow-up, include a sign-in sheet and a pamphlet about your practice. When appropriate, place follow-up phone calls or e-mails to determine if there’s a need for your services. Remember to use the passion points during your discussions so you’re speaking the prospect’s language.
These events don’t need to stress out your budget. By holding joint events you can share costs with a themed partner, like a travel agency or decorator, who may also be looking for clients. The same is true in selecting your venue. Many places will give you meeting space for free or at a discount in order to attract new business themselves. How about an indoor rock climbing facility, health club, or art gallery?
Consider how one advisor in the Midwest used this approach to garner an ongoing source of qualified leads. The advisor, who asked to remain anonymous, identified a large number of clients who fell into the “unplugged” wealth sign. A number of these clients also had children who played in a local junior soccer league. The advisor sponsored a year-end party for the league and offered to provide financial portfolio checkups to parents for $50. The fee was contributed back to the soccer league to help defray the cost of the next season. This strategy was consistent with the unplugged group’s characteristics and ultimately led to nearly 20 new, highly desirable clients in the first year. The advisor has since sponsored similar events with other local sports and civics groups. Each event has produced new clients.