There are many ways to prospect and look for new clients, but is there a way to find new clients that are similar, if not exactly like your current best clients? The following steps explain how you can find clients that will work with your profile.
Step 1 – Get clear
One of the quickest ways to expand your book of business is to get laser clear on who you serve the best and who serves your business the best. The clearer you are on what you want, the more likely you’ll get it.
Who are your best clients? They know the value of your advice and they trust you implicitly. They are well connected in their community. They meet or exceed your financial minimums. They are willing to pay for your advice without complaining. They are happy to take a stake in your success.
Many of the top producers who participate in our Referral Champions Coaching Program tell me that the quantity of referrals isn’t their issue anymore. Rather, they want to improve the quality of their referrals. Using an Ideal Client Profile (ICP) is the answer. Here’s how it works:
- Determine the quantitative and qualitative characteristics of your “A” clients and write them down. Quantitative characteristics are things like: net worth, investable assets, income, occupation, location, age, business and family situation – to name a few.
- Qualitative characteristics are things like: attitude toward professional advice, general personality, risk tolerance, and lifestyle.
Every rep’s profile will be somewhat different. For instance, you might really like working with small business owners, while a colleague might enjoy engineers, or high-level executives in large companies. There is no right or wrong here. You may also enjoy working with “middle market” folks.
The point is, when you are only working with people who fit your profile, you do a better job for your clients, your clients experience the value you bring to the relationship, and they’re more likely to give you referrals to people like themselves.
Just taking the time to be clear on who your “A” clients are is a worthwhile exercise. But don’t stop there. Write your profile down in a format where you can share it with certain clients and centers of influence. I’ve found that showing people your ICP is much more effective than just telling them.
Step 2 – The interview
It’s important to be totally upfront with why you want to interview your clients. It’s a combination of wanting to know what’s working in your relationship – what they find valuable – then brainstorming how you might approach others like them.
Your “script” might sound a little like the following: “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 really value your help. I’d like to get together for about an hour to do two things. First, I want to make sure I’m on track with you. I want to see what you value in our relationship and see if there’s anything I could or should be doing differently to serve your needs. Second, I want to brainstorm a little 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 over to your office if need be. What do you think?”
Don’t worry about the exact words I used above. Find your own words that are natural for you.
See also: 10 steps to better prospecting
Step 3 – Determine the value
It’s important for you to determine the value you bring to your client relationships. Here’s a gusty way to start the interview: “George. On a scale of 1-10, where am I with you right now?” That will get your juices flowing as well as some important information flowing from your client.
You might also ask, “George. What about your financial situation keeps you up at night?” Follow that with, “Is our current plan addressing your concerns or do you think we need to make some adjustments?” Of course, the questions you ask will be specific to the relationships and what you may have covered in a previous meeting.
Ask them why they do business with you and what attracted them to you in the first place. Tell them, “If you could wave a magic wand over me and our relationship, what would be different?”
This value discussion will help your clients clearly understand the value you bring to them. It will teach you what people value about you, your process and your service.
Step 4 – Brainstorm for introductions
Now you move into the area of working on your marketing plan. I suggest your start off “specific” and become more “general.”
If you have already identified people in their world that you believe you might be able to serve well, start there. After you do that for one, or two, or three people, you can open it up by saying, “If you were in my shoes, who would you be trying to meet?” “What would you say to them to get their attention?” “What’s a compelling reason for someone like yourself to take a timeout from their busy life and sit down with me?”
These types of questions will get them looking at your business from an important perspective – yours.
Step 5 – Get introduced
If you have selected the right type of client to meet with in the first place, you’ll probably get between one and five referrals. The average is three. As you move up the ladder of affluence, it becomes more important to be introduced to your new prospect, rather than calling them without their expectation. How do you get introduced and how do you approach your new prospect?
Here are two effective questions to help you customize your approach to a new prospect: “How would you like to introduce me to George?” And, “What do you think you need to say to George to get him interested in taking my call.” It’s as simple as that. Now you just step into the flow of their relationship. Your client will help you build your customized approach to their friend for colleague.
Two sayings I live by and apply to this situation:
- Clear intentions produce clear results. Vague intentions produce vague results.
- Action trumps strategy (meaning – don’t overthink this. Do it!)