Take the time to work out what your business stands for – and attract the clients who are the right fit for your vision.
Over time your business can drift, and you can find yourself taking on clients that aren’t a good match for your business – responding to other people’s agendas rather than driving your own.
By contrast, successful businesses are very clear about the types of clients that they take on – and those that they don’t. So to help make sure you’re attracting the right clients for your business, here are eight questions to consider.
1: What is your ‘why?’
Remind yourself of your ‘why’ – your purpose in starting the business. What is it that you want your business to be known for? Financial advisers and accountants are often inspired by a desire to help a particular group of people or solve a certain type of problem. Reflecting on your ‘why’ for starting your business can rekindle your passion for your target market. Simon Sinek in his popular TED talk offers a framework to help focus your thinking¹.
2: Do the fundamentals stack up?
Your ideal target market must have problems that need solving and be big enough to support your growth plans. What’s more, these clients must be able to afford your fees, and make it worth your while for the time you spend working with them.
3: Can you pick your target client out from a crowd?
Take the time to describe your target client like you would a friend. What are their demographic and emotional traits? What social media do they use? What other products and services are they using at the same time they are considering financial planning or accounting?
Who are their influencers? What are their values? What media do they consume? What is their lifestyle? If you’re not sure, survey your existing clients who are already in your target market – you might find some unexpected insights to provide better service to them.
4: What is their problem that you are solving?
Client problems are generally defined in rational terms, but clients often use a rational justification for an emotional decision. Take the time to understand both the rational and emotional dimension of your target market, including your clients’ hopes and fears.
5: Are you a good fit for them – can you deliver what they want?
Your target market needs a good reason to buy from you, instead of the other service providers available to them. From your clients’ perspective, what is your unique value proposition? Focusing on your unique value is a winning strategy as clients are prepared to pay more for an experienced professional than a generalist. You are also easier to find, and easier to refer, if people clearly know what you do and what you have to offer.
6: Are you demonstrating empathy and expertise?
It’s no surprise that the websites and LinkedIn profiles of most accountants and financial advisers are very similar.
Stand out to your target market by showing an understanding of their problem. Demonstrate that you have the competence to solve it by sharing insights and solutions. Consider using content marketing, like blogs and social media posts, as well as videos, case studies, newsletters, client testimonials and presentations. Use this content as your ‘proof points’ of your ability to help them.
Additionally, in your digital marketing, use imagery and designs that will appeal to your target market, or that are neutral enough not to alienate them.
7: Are you using the channels that they prefer?
Social media is good for building rapport and nudging prospective customers towards you. Knowing the social media channels that your target market uses enables you to be where they are and interact with them.
Given the popularity of direct messaging, your target market may want to use it to approach your business, rather than using traditional methods like the telephone. Following up enquiries within an hour – or even within five minutes – is likely to lead to a meaningful conversation than trying to contact your prospect 24 hours later or longer.²
When you get to know your target market you discover their common interests, hobbies, jobs and purchase patterns. Using these insights, you can set up collaboration relationships with complementary businesses using cost-effective tools such as Collabosaurus.
8: How can you establish trust with them?
As your target market are considering whether to do business with you, they are wondering whether they can trust you. Reflect from your clients’ perspective on the risks for them and provide transparency and assurances.
According to Rachel Botsman, the author of ‘Who Can You Trust?’³, trust can’t be taken for granted and needs to be earned. Her equation for establishing trust is: competence, reliability, integrity and benevolence / self-interest
For your target market, consider what these traits mean to them and what they look like in practice. For example, doing charitable work with a specific medical charity may help you to build trust if your target market is the medical profession.
1. TED Talks, Simon Sinek How Great Leaders Inspire Action.
2. Vendasta Blog, 5 Minutes or Less: Risk and Reward in Lead Response Time, 2018.
3. Rachel Botsman, ‘Who Can You Trust?’, 2018.