For most advisors, there tends to be a certain type of client who just seems to fit the advisor’s personal strengths and interests. But how does an advisor figure out who that client is? And once that happens, how should an advisor go about finding more of those ideal clients?
Three longtime, successful producers sat down with me this month to talk about their ideal clients and how they go about finding them.
(For part two of this roundtable, see: How to deal with difficult clients)
Q. Even though you may work with many different kinds of clients, how would you characterize those clients who best fit your practice? In other words, what are some of the common characteristics of your ideal clients, and why do they fit you so well?
Jason J. Dudum, LUTCF, chief executive officer of Dudum Financial: My ideal client is someone who shares the same interests and hobbies as I do, such as golf, involvement in his local church and owning his own business. Being a golfer allows me to get to know a person on a more personal level, because I have the opportunity to learn whether he is a risk taker, and in return, he gets to observe my creative thinking skills.
I enjoy working with clients who also share the same values and work ethic as I do. I have found some of my ideal clients through my involvement in my local church. If you meet prospects through volunteering, it can help you better understand the way they work, interact, and deal with situations.
Another main characteristic of my ideal client is that he or she is an entrepreneur or business owner. Since I’m a business owner, this allows us to exchange ideas and share issues that we commonly face. Most of the time in meetings, I’m catching up with clients about their hobbies or interests, and business usually follows.
Mark Jones, president of Remington Insurance Group Inc.: Early in my career, one of my mentors advised me to decide: Am I a business person who provides insurance strategies and solutions, or an insurance agent who sells products to consumers? That’s when I decided to become independent, incorporate myself, become a small-business owner, and work as a legal entity.
That one move has enabled me to attract, develop and retain other small-business owners. Because we connect on a different level, I fully understand their daily issues and challenges. Small-business owners are a kindred spirit, sharing many of the same headaches.
My ideal and best clients are small-business owners/employers who genuinely care about their businesses, their employees and their respective families. They are looking for high quality, consistency and value. During good years, they are savers and utilize certain cash value life insurance policies as part of their strategy. During lean years, when surviving is critical, these insurance cash values have been used to fund other obligations, and no one had to die to utilize the benefits.
They become excellent disability insurance and long-term care insurance prospects and clients. They welcome retirement strategies. They are great centers of influence and become an ideal referral source. They are possibility thinkers and set realistic goals. They value hard work and respect my time and recommendations. Working with their employees usually results in very positive results, because of the established relationship with the business owner.
William J. Rossi, CFP, ChFC, partner at Koss Olinger Financial Group: I think it is important for advisors to define their ideal client so they can focus their efforts toward those common characteristics. Trying to be all things to all people is difficult and inefficient. I recommend focusing on a certain audience to be most effective.