In over a decade of coaching some of the top producers in the country, the natural focus tends to be on… you guessed it… how do I grow my revenues? Deep inside, after all these years, we all still want to believe there’s a silver bullet, a best-kept secret. Yet, the reality is the silver bullet has always been there right in front of us. It’s the reason our businesses exist. Your clients and future clients are the silver bullet and always will be. And I’m convinced of it, especially as it relates to marketing your service business for perpetual success. The research backs this up.
Studies show that it costs ten times more to generate a new customer than to maintain an existing one. Client acquisition costs eats into profit margin in the hopes of an eventual ROI and retention to build the business. For smaller firms, losing a few clients could be devastating. For larger organizations, increasing your attention and intention on retention could increase profits by as much as 100% for every 5% in improved retention. As powerful as retention is, what’s even more important is advocacy whereby the goal is to go beyond retention to creating raving fans that say great things about you and introduce you to others like themselves. As Harry Beckwith put it in his book, Selling The Invisible, “The core of service marketing is the service itself.”
Therein lies the 20% that makes 80% of the difference increasing revenues and attracting new clients. Turn your most ideal clients into raving fans and let them help you build your business. It sounds straightforward and perhaps not so novel. Yet, we consistently find financial professionals missing it.
Perpetual Marketing Success Cycle
Consider the following perpetuating success cycle at play in service marketing…
Ideal Prospects > Ideal Clients > Raving Fans > Advocates > More Ideal Prospects
And like any simple model, the power is in the unpacked details starting with a clear written description of your “Ideal Client.” When you describe your ideal client, it’s more than just numbers like age or investable assets. It’s a human profile with attributes like passion for family, commitment to their financial future or simply likable! Sure, perhaps you start an “Ideal Client” profile with some basic demographics like age range, income level, assets and the like, but what distinguishes them as “ideal” are those psychographics or human attributes.
Taking time to define your “ideal client” will do several powerful things for you. It will…
- Empower you to create a more compelling value proposition with more targeted solutions.
- Empower you to communicate your unique value proposition (UVP) to them more effectively.
- Empower you to differentiate yourself against your competition where it matters most.
- Empower you to create efficiencies (aka profitability) in every aspect of your business.
- Empower you to create a more attractive culture for your target market.
We could go on but hopefully, you get the point. This one relatively simple exercise can make your entire organization much more focused and effective at generating additional revenues and clients. If you have trouble defining your ‘Ideal Client’, start by listing your best existing clients on a piece of paper writing down all the relevant attributes you can think of like income, assets, interests, passions, hobbies, origin, etc. What are some of the common attributes? List them separately to begin your ideal client profile and remember, this will define a BULLSEYE so feel free to add any other important attributes that didn’t show up for those specific clients. Once complete, share your profile with the rest of your team. Get them involved and make it personal by identifying your current ideal clients.
A Segmentation Strategy is an Annualized Process, not a One Time Task
To identify your most ideal clients, we recommend segmenting them based on how close they come to your profile. Unless you have this done already, try creating four groups to start…“Ideal” (or close to it), “A”, “B” and “C” plus the rest. At some point, it would be wise to consider a succession plan for some or all of your “C plus” group after evaluating the time they consume, the opportunity cost of serving them and even the risk of a bad reference. In many cases, these clients are not generating enough revenue in the organization to justify the opportunity cost of serving them. Moreover, as a limited resource, you’re depriving potential ideal clients of the opportunity to work with you by not diverting more attention to marketing activities. It’s liberating to let go and let them become someone else’s “A” client, someone on your team perhaps. Better to let them go than allow it to affect your ability to retain your “A” clients and find new ones, don’t you think?
Now that we know who the top clients are, focus attention on creating raving fans and advocacy to perpetuate the cycle. A client’s experience with your organization can be summed up by the ‘touchpoints.’ Touchpoints are those connections made with your client throughout the year where 1) your brand is recognized and 2) some value is perceived. Developing a touchpoint strategy is very important because you’re not leaving their experience to chance. Creating a raving fan experience is based on a relationship with you and your staff through touchpoints. It takes intention and planning.
Advocacy and Referrals Come from a Well Managed Touch Point Strategy
Begin thinking of all the ways your clients currently connect with your brand. Examples may include and are certainly not limited to newsletters, mailers, meetings, workshops, client events and even social activities. List them all and decide if all are appropriate across each client segment. It might be helpful to create a matrix adding more touchpoints as you move from “C” to more ideal clients. As a rule of thumb to move them towards advocacy, it’s important to schedule four face-to-face touchpoints with them each year, perhaps quarterly.
Once you have a touchpoint strategy in place to create raving fans, it’s time to identify your best potential client advocates from the top two segments. Your best client advocates will be helpers with influence. When you identify these key clients as your strongest potential advocates, share your ideal client profile, ask them to identify people they know and want to help with similar attributes. Ask them to personally introduce you to each of them however it feels right for the situation. The key is that they literally introduce you to each other with the expectation that at some point, you could possibly help them too. It’s a win for everyone!
So often when we think of sales and revenues, we overlook our clients and, in some cases, marketing activities can become a significant distraction from serving your most valued clients. This way of thinking, where your clients are a central theme, creates long-term loyalty and advocates who will go out of their way to help you to help others. Imagine a business where 80% of your clients are in your ‘ideal’ segment. Think about what that would do to your revenues, the fun you enjoy in your work and the sense of fulfillment you get from serving your clients. It’s doable!
Learning more about yourself is a great step towards identifying your most ideal clients. We’ve developed a powerful and complimentary “Confident Leader Insight Assessment” to help you do just that. We’ve developed a powerful and complimentary “Confident Leader Insight Assessment” to help you discover more about yourself as a motivational leader and get a feel for how the new hire version of this assessment could give you an unfair hiring advantage over your competition. Click HERE to take this brief but powerful assessment. Even though we may already have your name and email, the assessment requires it anyway to create your unique assessment link which will be emailed to you. This information will not be shared. The report is immediate and if you’d like a little more interpretation, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or click the button below to schedule a complimentary laser session to go over your results and receive a sample new hire assessment report.