I recently watched a training video from Lucila Williams, principal of The Intentional Advisor, a coaching service for financial advisers. In it, she shows a system for identifying your ideal client. To me, this seems at least as important as describing yourself in the old elevator speech.
The Elevator Speech
If you are a business owner or sales person, you have been lectured repeatedly on the elevator speech. What would you say about yourself in 30 seconds to explain your business to a stranger? Really, not on an elevator, because we spend all elevator rides avoiding eye contact with the other riders.
Usually, people’s elevator speeches are awful and full of jargon that makes no sense to the listener. Here is mine: I’m a Certified Financial Planner and I own a one-woman financial advisory firm. I don’t sell products or insurance and I don’t gather assets to manage for an annual fee. My clients pay for my time and advice by the hour or by the project.
There, I just said it out loud and it didn’t even take 30 seconds. But what about my ideal client? Again, that should be short, easy to understand, and specific enough to allow people to think of you when they are asked for referrals.
Don’t Make This Mistake
The biggest mistake I see people make is not being specific about the clients with whom they want to work. Realtors say they specialize in all neighborhoods or any type of buyer. Unhelpful! I want to know if you are the go-to person for condos downtown or hidden acreage in Lakewood.
Financial planners are just as bad. “Oh, we can work with anyone.” But do you want to? Some people love working with doctors. Others want to work with families that have a over a certain net worth. Some people specialize in clients who are divorcing or recently widowed.
My ideal client elevator speech is this: I prefer working with people who naturally live within their means, whatever those means are. I don’t require an asset minimum, just an attitude that values advice and reasonably follows a list of to-dos.
So, there you have it. I won’t go into all that Lucila explained in her video – you need to pay her for that – but it was a valuable exercise. Envision the clients you have enjoyed working with and that have had success with your business model. Then, go find more of those.
I hope this musing has helped you business owners and sales folks to create a more lucrative and pleasant working experience!