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3 steps to cloning your best clients

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Step No. 1: Develop an ideal client profile. Determine the quantitative and qualitative characteristics of your “A” clients and write them down. Quantitative characteristics include net worth, investable assets, income, occupation, age and family situation. Qualitative characteristics include attitude toward professional advice, general personality, risk tolerance and lifestyle.

Every profile is somewhat different. You might like working with small-business owners or maybe with high-level executives in large companies. When you are only working with people who fit your profile, your clients experience the value you bring to the relationship, and they’re more likely to give you referrals to people like themselves.

Finding out who your A clients are is a worthwhile exercise. Write your profile down to share with certain clients and centers of influence. I’ve found showing people your ICP is much more effective than just telling them.

Step No. 2: Determine who you want to interview. You’ll want to interview your A clients to find out what they value in your relationship. But before you start these interviews, determine who would make the best interviewee. It’s best to select clients who are fairly “open” in their style of communication.

From your list of A clients, identify the most open, networked and socially active as well as your A clients who just plain love you. These are your best interview candidates.

Step No. 3: Request an interview with your best clients. Be upfront about why you want to interview your clients. Your “script” might sound similar to: “I’ve been taking a look at my business and want to focus most of my energy serving clients much like yourself. I’m doing a little research, and I value your help. I’d like to get together for about an hour to do two things. First, I want to see what you value in our relationship and if there’s anything I could be doing differently to serve your needs. Second, I want to brainstorm on how I might reach more people like you–people who I believe I can serve the best. I’d be happy to do this at a time most convenient for you. I’ll even bring a nice lunch. What do you think?”

Check back next Friday for steps four through six.

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Bill Cates is the author of “Get More Referrals Now!” and “Don’t Keep Me a Secret!” Go to for more information and to sign up for his newsletter. Bill can be reached at [email protected].