by George Tamer
For advisers, one of the most important facets to growing a successful business is recruiting new clients. And not just any new client will do-advisers need to develop a process for identifying exactly what type of client they want and how to bring those prospects into their practices.
It's an unfortunate reality that too many advisers focus their valuable time and attention on prospects who, in the long run, are not suitable for their practices. One of the keys to overcoming this is to consider the Miller Heiman Conceptual Selling process, which outlines the steps advisers and their staffs can take to identify those ideal clients, communicate with them and bring them on board as clients. The process can be powerful and involves the following steps:
Identify your ideal client. To develop an ideal client profile, figure out what your strengths are and what types of clients may benefit the most from those strengths. For example, if you have a lot of expertise in retirement and estate planning, you'll likely want to focus on clients who are retired or who are about to retire, rather than young professionals just starting a family. Remember that asset minimums are not a way of defining an ideal client; it's more about your skills and the type of client who may benefit from them.
Prune your prospect list. With an ideal client profile in hand, review your list of prospects and remove potential clients who don't fit. Clients who aren't a good fit usually don't end up staying with their adviser for the long term.
Get your staff on the same page. By identifying a process with a specific series of steps to your staff, each person knows exactly what his or her role is and what to do next when it comes to working with prospects. There is no uncertainty.
Keep moving prospects along. The Miller Heiman Conceptual Selling process views a prospect list like a funnel. At the top is every ideal prospect. At the bottom are prospects who are about to sign on as clients. As these prospects move through the funnel, the adviser interacts with them, asking for information. Prospects who are ready to move through the funnel will respond with the requested information; those who don't either aren't ready to move on or may actually not fit the profile. The idea is to continually fill the funnel so that prospects are always moving through it.
Let your clients know. Many advisers continually grow their businesses through existing clients referring new prospects, so it's important to make sure your current clients understand the type of prospects you're looking for and how your skill sets can help their friends and relatives.
If you're ready to take your business to the next level, be specific about who your ideal clients are, and be strategic about how you identify them, communicate with them and bring them on board as new clients. The results of your efforts will show.
George Tamer is director of strategic relationships at TD AMERITRADE Institutional, where he oversees a team that helps independent advisers create operational efficiencies through workflow processes, technology usage and best practices.
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TD AMERITRADE Institutional is offering two Signature Series events on "Implementing Processes to Build Better Businesses." These in-depth, one-day workshops will take place at the Hyatt Regency in Boston on Sept. 14 and the Four Seasons in Chicago on Oct. 18. To learn more, contact a TD AMERITRADE Institutional consultant at (800) 934-6124.