You Are Not a Bus: Why Choosing the Right Clients is a Key to Business Success

Review your marketing strategy to make sure it’s tailored to acquire the clients you want, and also can keep.  The best way to do this is to dig into your strengths: find out where your services have been strongest and analyze those details.

Your Grandma’s adage that “you are not for everyone” may be the best piece of business advice anyone can give. That idea that not everyone has to like you is the essence of what niche marketing is all about. But it’s the flip side of niche marketing that can provide you with the best results for your business. If you are not for everyone is true, then the reverse is most likely true as well: not everyone is for you. Put in other words, as one newly minted partner once said “You are not a bus: not everyone needs to get on.” Choosing the right clients can ensure business success, even when it seems crazy to turn clients away. Here’s why.

To choose the right clients you need to know your goals, play to your strengths and have the right analytical tools.  Going after the wrong customers will waste your time and money.  When managers are shopping for new staff, they know they can’t waste time wooing every potential employee in the market. By casting too wide a net, their job listing becomes overly broad and sifting through piles of resumes to find the right candidate becomes overwhelming, time consuming and frankly, a major waste of money.  The same is true for finding the right clients.

Going after clients who either don’t know what they want or want something other than what you provide will result in lost time searching for those clients, and poor results when they do come to you. Focusing on the right clients is more than just finding the right tranche of investment assets. While some can limit the asset pool of their clients by amount, others might want to work only with those with specific assets, or with specific goals in mind.

How to know who to choose?  Deciding on who is the right client may start with deciding who the wrong client is. Knowing what services you can provide, with consistency, can help with this decision. If you excel at white glove treatment, suddenly acquiring clients who prefer mostly platform based investments, like ones with automatic adjustments, won’t suit your needs, and in the long term, won’t be profitable. And, the retention of your key staff will take a hit as well. If your business goals include developing long term relationships to see personal growth from wealth generation, then those automatic adjustment preferring clients probably won’t ring your employees’ bells.

Another top tip includes reviewing your business plan for how you articulated your market and your ideal client. Is this still true for how you operate? Is this person the one who calls, emails or opens your marketing mail? Do they attend your events?  And to take this action step one step further, ask: Is everyone on your team in agreement about who your ideal client is? As a key part of this, review your marketing strategy to make sure it’s tailored to acquire the clients you want, and also can keep.  The best way to do this is to dig into your strengths: find out where your services have been strongest and analyze those details. You might also ask if you are getting the data you need to make this decision. If not, consider what surveys and polls you might want to send to your clients.

Also consider analyzing the cost per client acquisition. Analyze whether are you overspending to acquire the underspenders. To take this one step further, try comparing your new client cost per acquisition (CPA) to the lifetime value (LTV) of your clients.

Keep in mind too that your ethical responsibilities include how you treat all of your clients. The CFA’s guidelines state that “managers must deal fairly and objectively with all clients when providing investment information, making investment recommendations, or taking investment action.” That means clients need to feel certain that they are being treated equally, that no other client is given preferential treatment that may negatively impact their portfolio. That doesn’t mean that you can’t offer tiers of service or meet different needs via different rates, just that these arrangements should be disclosed to all clients all the time.

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