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5 Steps for Financial Advisors to Identify their Ideal Client Type

By ClientWise | June 26, 2012

Many top-performing financial advisors demonstrate the ability to identify and refine what we, at ClientWise, call the ideal client type. This is a targeted demographic that the advisor serves best.

In marketing terms, an ideal client type is similar to a target market; identifying an ideal client type requires additional effort in that it requires constructing a detailed profile of a specific client niche. This means the advisor must be crystal-clear on the goals, behaviors, concerns and aspirations of these specific groups.

Many of the most successful financial advisors, and their teams, work with ideal client types. Some examples would include:

  • Senior executives with concentrated stock positions,
  • Single parents who have lost a spouse,
  • Retired business owners who have sold a privately-held business,
  • Parents with special-needs children.

If you don’t have a very tailored picture of your ideal client type or type or would like to more fully engage with this concept, here are five steps that get you started: 

  1. Identify Your Ideal Client Types. Start out by considering which clients are your favorite clients and why. Think of some of your clients who you like, and really enjoy working with now. Do you have a group of clients who are unified by a common characteristic, i.e. work at the same company, within the same industry, attend the same club, church, synagogue, etc., possess a singular investment need or concern, etc.? For those groups of your clients who have identified as sharing some common characteristics, values, goals, traits, or behaviors, as well as being clients who you truly enjoy serving; these are your potential Ideal Client Types.
  2. Identify Known and Unknown Needs. Your ideal client type will have specific concerns and needs that are known and can be articulated. What are they? In addition, there might be “unknown needs” that are harder to articulate, but no less real.
  3. Match a Solution to the Needs. An important reason that a prospective client will decide to work with you is their belief that you provide real value in the form of services and solutions. For the needs and concerns of your ideal client types, known and unknown, what solution do you provide?
  4. Identify Other Trusted Advisors. Most ideal client types will have relationships with other trusted advisors. These typically include attorneys and accountants as well as other professionals, such as commercial lenders, business evaluation specialists, elder law attorneys, etc. Identify the other trusted advisors and centers of influence with whom your prospective clients are working closely with now. Not only will this connect you to other valued professionals, it enables you to build a wealth management network that truly serves your ideal client type.
  5. Select a Marketing Message. Given the unique characteristics of your ideal client types, and their particular needs and concerns, they will respond to specific marketing messages and campaigns. List a marketing message and campaign for each ideal client type.

With about 350,000 or so client-facing financial advisors in the marketplace, differentiation is critical. One of the best ways to develop your unique skills that will be recognized by other prospective clients, is by focusing laser-like focus on specific ideal client types, their concerns, and how you and your practice can provide solutions that are customized to their specific issues.

A final note

ClientWise research has revealed that advisors with an extremely well-defined ideal client type tend to grow assets under management and the number of high net worth households more quickly than advisors who aren’t focused in this critical area of client acquisition. It pays to make the effort to differentiate your practice by adopting an ideal client type or types and to continue to refine this type as your practice grows.

For a ClientWise Learning Tool that guides you to refine your marketing approach, please feel free to download the following:


11 Client Engagement Marketing Ideas

Topics: Client Acquisition Client Engagement Marketing & Communication

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