Find Your Keystone to Unlock Profits and Scale
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I come from Pennsylvania, which is the Keystone State.
A keystone is a stone (shaped like a slice of pie) at the top of an arch that locks the other pieces in place. The adjacent stones depend on it for support. Remove that stone, and the arch or doorway collapses.
Pennsylvania’s central location along the arch of the 13 original colonies resembles a keystone.
How can you leverage the keystone concept to unlock the practice of your dreams?
Your keystone to profits and practice scalability
What is the keystone of your practice, and what holds your practice together?
It is the ideal clients you attract, serve and design your practice around.
I know you have heard about ideal clients. You understand the 80/20 principle – roughly 80% of profits come from the top 20% of clients.
When it comes to marketing campaigns, success starts with your target market.
When you think target market, it could be your next ideal client, a representative client you want to multiply, an individual you like working with or spending time with, or a composite of the characteristics you are looking for in your next client. There may be critical demographics of your target market or client niche you want to expand.
Questions to ponder: You have 100 seats on the plane. Who would you like to take them? Which 10 people would you invite if you had your ultimate prospect workshop?
Those are all the same conversation and concept.
The secret of your practice’s success is identifying that individual, focusing your marketing on speaking to them in bunches, acquiring a baker’s dozen or more of these clients, and tailoring your service model to this group.
A solo practice with 50 great clients tends to be the most profitable.
But here’s the rub.
While many advisors and firms know these target individuals when they walk into their office, most get stuck putting this on paper for their team or marketers to follow. Then they get stuck putting it into practice.
Here are four models to choose from to become one of the few practices or advisors who get unstuck.
Four ways to unlock the keystone (ideal client) in your practice
Think carpe diem.
Seize the day and make today the day you get started multiplying your best clients (and income).
Pick any one of these methods and reap the rewards.
1. Ideal client discovery
The better you can define your ideal client, the more effective your marketing will be, the more qualified leads you will get, and the more clients you’ll land.
To uncover your best, ideal clients, you could go through the Ideal client discovery process.
I ask advisors to brainstorm the top five to 15+ characteristics of their ideal target.
These can include…
- Type of decision-making person/personality
- Family situation and description of household/profession/business
- Geography and personal financial situation
- Experience/attitude towards financial planning/wealth management
- Experience/attitude towards investments/advisors
- Top family goals and challenges
- Top financial goals and challenges
I take the output of the brainstorming session and create a portrait of ideal clients.
2. Create an individual profile
Build your client avatar or profile characteristics like you’d create a character in a video game.
Start with gender, age, hair color, education, marital status, a specific house, and family portrait.
Add a job, income, and financial balance sheet, and pretty quickly you’ll have a clear picture or individual profiles of a target.
Then, if you have multiple profiles, rank them in order of priority and pick one to focus on with your next marketing initiative.
If you aren’t sure about these options, here are two more to consider.
3. Tap into emotions and problems (at the time they became a client)
Longtime advisors with a mature client base need to be cognizant of the mental state prospects had at the time they became clients.
Outline the key investing or planning problems, the burning frustrations and worries, or issues these prospects had when they sought help and engaged you.
“What keeps your best prospects up at night?”
A successful entrepreneur may be about to cash out the equity in their life’s work and be concerned about losing much of their hard-earned wealth to bad investments.
A long-time corporate employee may be faced with a lump-sum pension decision and have a limited time to make it.
A newly single spouse may be in charge of wealth for the first time and not know what to do.
A busy professional couple may have accumulated money in multiple investment accounts and want to ensure they are positioning their portfolios for eventual retirement.
A DIY investor may have recently lost significant money in the market and not want to repeat that mistake.
Each of these issues, problems, or emotions – these situations – can lead you to a different set of individuals and a different target market.
Remember, people buy on emotions and justify with facts.
4. Multiply a favorite client
One of my favorite questions to ask as I get to know an advisor in the marketing planning process is to simply ask, “Tell me about your favorite client…”
Top advisors are generally great listeners, and I may capture a full page of notes about this individual.
They say something like:
Oh yeah, James was my first big client. James worked his way through college and his first job after graduating was working for a family who owned the big landscaping firm in town.
When the founder retired, no one in the family wanted to take over the business. James bought them out and spent seven days a week creating something impressive.
He got married right out of college and has three kids who all went to public school and who he put through state colleges. He still lives in his first house and people in town know him from coaching sports teams and his landscaping crews. I’d describe him as a multi-millionaire next door.
When I met James, he was in his mid-50s and had about $5 million in stocks and wanted to start a succession plan for his business and ensure his family was set up if something happened to him or if he wanted to slow down.
If I had just ten more clients like James, I’d be doing fine.
I ask, “Well, what would be five easy ways we could find more folks like James?”
And the ideas, actions, and results generally flow from there.
With the carpe diem system, you can decide today to make progress and take the first steps.
You are not picking a niche for life, only unlocking the keystone concept of starting to replicate and eventually multiply ideal (and your most profitable) clients.
As you approach your next client referral meeting, website redesign, marketing email, or marketing plan, remember to visit Pennsylvania on your travels, the Keystone State.
Bob Hanson is a fractional marketer and author of Marketing Power for Financial Advisors. Get his checklist, Nine Questions Advisors Must Ask Before They Hire a Marketing Agency, Fractional or Full-Time Marketer, click here.