Conducting Client Research to Boost Prospecting Results
Highly successful advisors have long determined that the traditional shotgun approach to prospecting using blast emails no longer works. They have found that prospecting with a more targeted approach, focusing more narrowly on clearly defined ideal client types based on a readily identifiable market segment or niche, increases both efficiency and results. These segments or niches are identified by demographics, businesses, careers, interests, or shared financial concerns that distinguish them from others.
We’ve written about the many advantages of niche marketing, including the more efficient use of resources, the ease of establishing one’s authority within a niche, and the built-in networking apparatus of well-connected clients residing in a niche.
However, the most significant marketing advantage is the ease of conducting research to gather intelligence about your market. Through market research, you can uncover critical information enabling you to develop more effective communication methods that appeal to your target market while honing your value proposition to touch their pain points.
You’ll be better able to pinpoint the critical factors influencing your client’s decision-making, enabling you to anticipate their questions and concerns or raise key issues they may not have considered. Essentially, you can more artfully position yourself as a trusted advisor who clearly understands them and what keeps them up at night, forming the foundation of an enduring advisory relationship.
Steps for conducting market research
While conducting market research on your ideal client does take time and effort, it can generate a significant return on your investment. The process is made easier by following these steps:
#1. Identify your target audience or niche
The big advantage of niche marketing is it gets you closer to finding your ideal client than by trying to cast a wide net. The prospects you’re looking for reside together in the same niche. They tend to know each other and are more willing to spread the word that a trusted expert is in their midst.
Examples of profitable niches include medical professionals and small businesses in a specific industry, such as retail shops—the more specialized the niche, the better.
#2. Research your client files
Your client files are loaded with market intelligence—from demographics to financial data—that can be used to identify your ideal client. Create a spreadsheet to find commonalities like age range, family status, education, and income. Then identify shared financial issues, concerns, and challenges.
#3. Interview your clients
Your clients are your best source of market intelligence. Your best clients will happily provide their insights and appreciate being asked. You can conduct interviews by phone or over lunch with a prepared list of questions such as these:
- What information do you like to consume, and from where?
- What networks or associations do you belong to?
- What social media do you participate in?
- What’s your process for making critical decisions?
- Tell me about your most important goals and why they’re important.
- What obstacles stand in the way of achieving your goals?
- What keeps you up at night?
- How do you feel you benefit from our relationship?
- How are we different from other advisors?
- What is your preferred method of communication with your advisors?
- How can your advisors help you overcome your most significant challenges?
#4. Investigate their social media
People who reside in niches tend to follow each other on social media. By delving into your clients’ social media accounts, you will learn more about their personal and business lives and the niche in which they reside. You can learn more about their shared interests on Facebook. You can see who they are following and what they like to read or talk about on LinkedIn or Twitter.
How to use your client research to advance your marketing
With your client research in hand, you can begin to narrow your focus and use your time and resources more efficiently to reach your ideal clients.
Develop targeted messaging
Use your research to sharpen your message to appeal more directly to your target market. You can use your targeted messaging to create tailored and relevant content for your website and email campaigns.
With a clear understanding of how your ideal client ponders their future, you are better positioned to ask meaningful questions that can translate to tailored solutions. You will stand out as a financial advisor who genuinely understands them and speaks their language.
Develop tailored marketing strategies
Understanding the type of information your target market wants and how they want to consume it enables you to develop a content and social media strategy that will increase the chances of them finding it and engaging with you.
While using client research to create a more narrow and targeted marketing approach can shrink your prospect pool, you will be more efficient at finding more qualified prospects with whom you will enjoy working. You’ll be able to identify more qualified prospects and build connections more quickly. Having established yourself as an authority in the niche, you will also become more referable.
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