How many times have you heard that you must define exactly whom you want to attract in to your financial planning practice so you know where to direct your client attraction resources? That concept is the foundation of every marketing program I teach, every coaching discussion I have, and any event I host.
Without absolute clarity on the type of person you want to intrigue with your marketing resources, how will you be able to market your financial planning practice effectively? How will you know what content to share, which opportunities make sense, and whether a partner is a good fit? How do you know if you should say “yes” to working with a potential client?
As essential as this perfect client avatar is, the opposite may be even more critical for your overall wellbeing. Have you articulated the type of clients you DO NOT want in your practice? I know this approach may feel ‘negative,’ but this exercise actually frees up more positive energy! Try it and see…
Answer these questions to define your pests:
- Who are those folks you want to repel?
- Who are the ones who make you cringe when you have a meeting or a phone call scheduled with them?
- Who are the ones who take over your practice, drain your resources and deplete your goodwill?
- Which clients suck the life force from you?
Sometimes these clients can take away more of your energy than ideal clients give you. And that’s not right. You’re in business for yourself for a reason, and you aren’t required to work with anyone who comes through the (virtual) door. You get to choose whom you want to help, and you get to say no. When you’re clear on the “no way!” candidates, you can quickly dispose of the inquiry and focus on serving more of the people who appreciate you.
If you’ve had your practice a while, you probably have a few people who come to mind immediately who fall into this category. Maybe you’ve already fired them, or maybe you dream of doing so (so get on and do it!).
List out all of the characteristics that describe these people. If you’re stuck, jot down characteristics of your favorite clients. Then, write the opposite trait next to that (I like to use http://thesaurus.com’s antonyms when I’m stuck). For example, if you love the clients who are “engaged and energized by life,” then write down, “uninvolved, views life as challenge” as a negative descriptor. The latter client will make you work harder, probably to no avail, as you try to spark their latent curiosity.
Once you complete your list, highlight the top 3 or 4 traits that encapsulate the essence of this person. As clear as you are about your ideal client, make your repellant description equally as precise.
Write you statement with authority beginning with a strong statement such as “Under no circumstances will I work with…” or “I will never take as a client a person who…”
While I never articulated in writing the prospects I wanted to repel when I had my financial planning practice, I completed this exercise for my marketing training business to accompany my Ideal Client depiction. Here’s my “repel” description (and I trust it’s not you):
Keep the description you write nearby. When you receive your next inquiry, you’ll know right away if you have a prospect or a pest.