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Why is it so hard to build an ideal practice?

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It’s supposed to be easy – just do a few simple things:

  • Honor the golden hours: concentrate on prospecting and selling between 10am and 4pm

  • Select your target market

  • Work primarily with ideal clients in your target market

  • Prospect on a regular basis

  • Learn to be persuasive – that’s the key to success

In my coaching practice, I have discovered that advisors have significant impediments to successfully completing each of these tasks.

Those waning golden hours…

Without a well-crafted business and marketing plan, there’s a good chance you will not have enough prospects to generate adequate sales. That’s why it’s difficult to fill up the golden hours with prospecting and selling activities.

Your target market chooses you

Selecting your target market turns out to be very difficult when you discover that you don’t choose your target market — your target market chooses you. When multiple sellers have multiple solutions, it becomes obvious that the buyer, not the seller, decides which advisor to work with. How often have you wasted time and effort chasing poor prospects?

The solution to discovering your true target market is hidden in plain sight. Advisors need to do what all successful organizations do: conduct market research. Even if you understand this dilemma, what can you do about it? Successful companies have marketing departments; you probably do not. Fortunately, there is a two-part solution.

“AAA” ideal clients

First, use this general definition of an ideal client: The 3 “A”s. Your best clients seek your advice; they take action based on your recommendations; and they become advocates for you.

The next step is to discover the specific traits of your AAA clients.

Revise your marketing program

Use this information to revise your marketing program. Focus on working primarily with ideal prospects in a geographically compact area. Be courageous — resist the temptation to work with poor prospects in distant areas; doing so will only undermine your efforts to build your ideal practice.

Another problem in most advisors’ practices is the irregular use of a printed fact finder. Fact finders — completed either using a printed or electronic model — are an essential part of successful marketing efforts. The fact finder is the key way to engage in forward prospecting, which keeps your prospect pipeline filled. Excellent marketers prospect regularly and do so easily when they consistently use a fact finder to capture future prospects’ names.

Persuasion vs. discovery

Another misconception is that persuasion is the key to successful selling. What I’ve learned is that discovery is the key. Your first job is to discover if the client actually needs what you have to sell. The only way to do this is to ask questions, which is the essence of the discovery process.

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