The type of client you choose to serve will have numerous direct and indirect effects on the type of business you build. Everything from your office space, marketing efforts, even the types of client events you host, will be impacted by the “who” in your business model. The various pieces of your business must be tightly aligned with the people you choose to serve, or the disconnect will become quite noticeable over time.
If your intent is to build a practice with higher-net-worth clients, there’s one thing I’d encourage you to consider first. While there are many exceptions to this, typically a more affluent client has worked with more advisors, has seen the competition and has also become better educated on the ins and outs of various advisory approaches. As a result, you’d be wise to center your approach on this reality: an educated client is generally a better client … if you’re really good at what you do.
A brand I respect immensely is Porsche. If you’ve ever met a person who loves Porsche sports cars, it’s very likely they’ll talk your ear off. Every aspect of that car has been considered by its owner, often through years of endless research and conversation with other Porsche lovers. The effect of this is a customer that will likely never leave the marque and switch to another. That’s the kind of client you want for your practice, right? Porsche happens to do more than any other car brand at educating their information-hungry customers.
So what makes a lifelong high-net-worth client choose you? I believe it’s the education you offer them before they move a single account to your care. Think about this: If you invest in an education-based client-acquisition process, you’ll not only attract prospects who appreciate education, but you’ll also retain them because they invested a lot in getting through your process, now understanding more than ever why they chose you in the first place. The next advisor to come along with a free steak has to convince them to start over in a new process, in hopes they find a bigger pot of gold at the end (figuratively, of course).
When you choose to market to a higher-net-worth prospect, you’re simultaneously choosing to invest more in an education-based onboarding process. I don’t believe you can sustainably do one without the other. Focus more on sales and less on education, and you’re very likely to attract a less educated and more transient client.
Here are few thoughts on becoming intentional about the client you’d like to serve and the means by which you’ll attract them:
• Decide on an ideal client. Yes, you’ve heard this before, but have you really done it? How specific is your description of that person or couple?
• Describe, in great detail, the five or six key concerns of your ideal client. Ask yourself if your current solutions actually address those concerns.
• Review every step and touch point in your client onboarding process.If you’d like to attract a different client than the ones you’re currently attracting, what parts of your process must be improved to achieve the desired result?
• Survey a number of people you think your process is designed to attract. Ask them for feedback. Does your approach actually resonate with them, and how might it be improved?
• Have the courage to question everything you do critically, and do something about it! If your business isn’t working like you wish it would, do everything you can to bring about the changes you wish to see.
For most of us, this career will be a lengthy one, so investing the time now can be an unbelievable form of leverage. After all, small improvements, made now, will impact each and every person we interact with during the years to follow.
You can be the advisor for the educated, but you must choose to do so and truly walk the walk. In the end, I think you’d be hard-pressed to find good reasons for not providing more education to those who are desperately seeking it. It’s truly a win-win.