Most financial professionals are more comfortable delivering services than promoting them. At the end of the day, demand generation — your ability to generate interest, inquiries, new leads and proposals — is a good thing for your practice and your reputation.
“The ability to generate demand is the ticket to spending more of your time working on exciting things for interesting people versus tolerable stuff for acceptable clients.” —David Maister, True Professional (Free Press, 1997)
Consider the following steps to securing your current client base and generating referrals and demand from an attractive set of new clients.
Step 1: Define your Target Market
The first step to generating more business is to define your ideal client. Think about the 20 percent of your clients who provide 80 percent of your revenue, and try to define your market in these terms:
- What do your best clients value in you?
- What problems do you solve for them?
- Are you skilled at serving a specific type or segment of client?
Write down descriptions of your top “segments” of clients. List their needs to remind yourself of your strengths in the marketplace. Write down their “pain points” — the issues that concern them or cause them to worry their financial plans. Addressing and mitigating pain points is an effective way to think about how you engage clients with relevant information. Spend time thinking about your approach versus other advisors.
Step 2: Create Relevant Opportunities for Client Engagement
Engaging clients is important because trust has to be demonstrated, not sold. Interactions with clients are your best opportunity to demonstrate yourself as a trusted advisor.
- Identify and track lifestyle event triggers for your clients. Business owners cross many thresholds in building their personal and business lives — rapid business growth, hiring staff, setting up a partnership, buying a house or having children. These event triggers are engagement opportunities for education and assistance from decision-making to paperwork.
- Create a routine for “you should know” contacts. Use the client’s preference (phone, e-mail or mail) to reach out with a relevant piece of information — an accounting insight or an opinion on a current issue or pain point.
- Activate technology to easily schedule and customize engagement. E-newsletters and blogs can be effective tools for touching base and adding value. E-mail makes it easy to forward articles or information with a personal note.
Create a client calendar. The key to engaging and targeting your market is talking to clients. A good way to do that is to create a client calendar that outlines and plans potential client contact throughout the year — particularly during the gaps between tax filings.