Understanding your client is more important than ever
The international advice market is evolving, and in recent years we have seen a new more informed type of client emerging. Greater availability of information allows people to do more of their own research and build their awareness. As people’s expectations evolve, their demand for greater transparency and value increases.
With the future success of your business depending on retaining and growing your client base, it’s important to consider how you can meet these increased client demands and ensure the services you offer are suitable for each individual. So how can this be achieved?
Place your clients at the centre of your business
The first step is developing a business model which places your clients at the centre of your business. This means understanding:
- Your target client.
- The services this client truly values.
- How these services can be offered.
- The cost of providing them.
- How to charge clients to make it commercially viable.
Not all clients are the same so you should identify the different servicing models required to suit different needs. What are the similarities and differences in your client base, and how does this link to profitability?
Understand the types of clients
By understanding more about the types of clients you have and the services you offer, you can start to shape your business proposition and service accordingly. By identifying the strengths of your business and targeting clients based on this, you will build a more client-focused and profitable business model.
Here are five key areas for consideration to help you understand your clients
1. Identify your ideal client profile
Whilst quantity over quality might serve your business in its early phases, sooner or later the cost of attracting, servicing and retaining clients, compared to the generated returns, needs to be considered.
Start by segmenting your client base by criteria, such as age, profession, annual income and asset value.
2. Be clear about your proposition
Here are three initial steps to determining your proposition:
- Reflect on the overall objective and ideal target market of your business.
- Identify the services you have (and would like) to offer your clients.
- Create a desired service package for each segment, once you’ve worked out the cost of your services.
3. Determine the cost of acquisitions
It is important to understand the cost of onboarding new clients as it can help you to:
- Direct time and resources to your most valued clients.
- Ensure that services satisfy client needs and are being provided profitably.
- Clearly differentiate the value of each client to your business through the value of the services offered.
4. Support your service offering
Documenting your services in a service level agreement (SLA) helps to make sure that all staff members are aware of their responsibilities in delivering them. This can also differentiate your business from competitors, set your clients’ expectations, and demonstrate value.
New client parameters can be set and documented to help attract and secure more appropriate prospects.
5. Client fulfilment
Once a segmentation strategy has been developed, the next step is implementation. This should be carefully considered to ensure that client satisfaction levels are not impacted. It’s important to communicate carefully with your clients to help manage their expectations and highlight the benefits of your revised services.
For further information and a useful checklist to help implement a new client segmentation strategy, visit Old Mutual International’s Future Fit website.