When it comes to basic customer segmenting, there are often two schools of thought: rank your prospects and clients based on value or provide total parity with your level of service. While it’s a nice ideal to treat every consumer with above and beyond care, the economy of time and resources—especially in financial services—makes this a difficult goal. So with one model, you may be ignoring consumers that may become valuable so you can target and service your elephants, those few big clients that can make your business grow at an accelerated rate. With the other model, you may spend more time with mid-value consumers that keep your practice afloat, while missing the opportunity to go after those elephants.
What we suggest is neither model–or actually both. Consider a hybrid platform that uses technology, proper targeting, and client fostering that allows you to focus on the elephants while growing mid-value prospects and clients into high value ones.
Here are four ways to do this:
Clearly Define A Ranking System
Obviously you want to work with the best people possible, the elephants, the whales, or whatever large animal you want to use to describe high-value clients. But what does “high value” actually mean? This can mean any number of things for advisors across the country. In a basic ranking system, you might assign your clients and prospects by letter grades–A, B, C, D, and so forth. Focusing only on A and B consumers may ignore those C level (or even D level) prospects that could evolve, through your expertise, into A’s and B’s. But again, you have that issue of what an A or B client is for you. Is it investable assets? Net worth? Time span left for the next life event (and sales opportunity)? It could be all of these. Identify for your practice what these ideal clients and prospects are and consider things other than assets as a ranking signal. Referrals, community status, and industry placement, can easily make a B-MINUS/C-PLUS prospect or client into an A-level star of your book.
Clearly Define Service Levels
Ranking consumers and aligning service levels may feel a little uncomfortable, since you ideally want to provide the best service to every person, every time. Having service blindspots or treating any potential client poorly can dramatically affect your reputation in a largely reputation-driven business. So make sure that the baseline attention you can provide to all clients is substantial. Then consider what supplemental services or attention you provide to your best clients/prospects. Many advisors already do this, without a clearly defined system. Say an A-plus client calls in, needing tax documents or advice within an hour. You or your staff will probably address this client’s needs right away, even if it means sacrificing time or energy. If say a mid-value client needs the same thing, you will likely have them follow your normal appointment making process, trying to see them as soon possible, sure, but not with the same urgency as the A-Plus client. Define who your top clients/prospects are and what service levels they receive. This will make the navigation between consumer types smoother and help your support staff be on the same page.
Use Technology To Maximize/Optimize Your Time, Touches, and Efforts
It’s no secret that we are a big proponent of using drip systems and automated campaigns to reach prospects and maintain good relationships with top clients. Lead nurturing (and client nurturing) is made all the easier with digital solutions like email marketing. Many email services make this process user-friendly and accessible to producers of all stripes. All of your marketing efforts should match the ideal target you’re chasing (i.e. market segmentation) and email is no different. But what gives something like email marketing and using emails for lead nurturing an advantage is the ease in which you can segment, build lists, and track results. So while you are angling after the big fish, you able to the keep a hand on your mid-value clients or unconverted leads.
Create The Elephants
This gets into the difference between your top ideal clients and your bread and butter clients—what is separating a C ranking client from becoming a top client? And is this something you can change or wait out? Odds are, with your dutiful care and effective baseline service, a low-ranking client will naturally graduate upwards. This is why it’s important to understand the basic value proposition you provide at a minimum. You can also catalyze the process by addressing the unique challenges these types of clients face. In essence, doing what you do with a client anyway, but grooming them for the long game, so that as your solutions pay off for them, they keep coming back to you.