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8 ways to reach the next level of client segmentation

Taking the time to turn a critical eye on your clients can help you zero in on those with the most potential

Jul 17, 2014 @ 6:00 am

By Matthew Halloran

Most coaching and consulting companies will tell you that one of the first things you need to do is look at who your clients are from an AUM/GDC perspective. Then you need to segment them: platinum, diamond, gold, A, A plus, B, C, D, or whatever they have trademarked to call them. Working with as many advisers as we have at Top Advisor, this method of segmentation is not complete, though it is a good place to start.

Basing a communication strategy and marketing events only off numbers is a terrible way to increase engagement, referrals, and overall client satisfaction. I want you to add some other categories so you can pinpoint who you should replicate, instead of who you want to replicate to just make more money. We all love money, don't get me wrong, but if you can make money and work with people you actually enjoy working with, then you win doubly.

Here are eight steps to take to organize, segment, and create a complete list of what you need to know about your clients.

1. Start with what everyone else tells you to do.

This means segmenting by name, GDC (or commissions if you work that way), outside assets, age, and other more general things.

2. Profitability.

Are you making a reasonable profit? It surprises me how many advisers do not do this regularly. How often are you meeting? How long did those meetings last? We need to look at not only what time you spend with the client, but also but how much time does your team spend on these clients. You might have some clients who you think you're making an enormous amount of money from in a GDC or a commission perspective, but you're spending so much time with them that based on your hourly rate, which you should all be able to calculate very quickly, you're actually losing money. When you start evaluating clients this way, you start running a business, not just a firm.

3. Likability.

Do you like seeing these people? This can simply be yes or no field in your CRM, or a yes or no category on an Excel Spreadsheet. We want you working with, and replicating, the clients you like! We will see if you can fire the ones you just cannot stand working with. Hopefully there aren't too many in your book you just can't stand to see.

4. Do they take your advice?

Like step three, this can be a quick yes or no categorization.

5. Do they refer, and if so, how many people have they referred?

Another very simple question to be able to put on an Excel spreadsheet or in a CRM. Yes, and they've referred five people to me, etc.

6. What do you have in common with them?

You need to create categories of commonality based on shared interests like golf, skiing, surfing, wine, or food. Can you answer what you have in common with your clients? If not, you will need to do some work, ask some questions, and be patient, as this process takes time. This will also help you focus on potential client-centered marketing events you could hold, which could get these people to show up and help you learn more about them.

7. Have they been attending your events?

If these are people who consistently don't attend your events, then you need to sit down and ask them why.

8. Potential.

One of the things that amazes me is that so many financial services professionals leave so much money on the table because they're not a full-service shop. I'm all about specialty, and if you don't want to dabble in other areas, that's entirely fine. But you need to have strategic relationships with people who do dabble. You need to look at long-term care, disability, life insurance, annuity products and alternative investments. Do they have money held outside by somebody else? If they do, why? Why isn't that money with you? That potential is another great way to focus your marketing efforts and ensure client segmentation isn't an exercise in futility, but is instead an exercise in profitability.

You can look very deeply into your book and find out a lot about what is working and what isn't. You can find out who is profitable and who is not. Taking the time to turn a critical eye to your clients can help you market to those that see the value in what you do, not just the ones who pay you the most.

Matthew Halloran is a certified coach for advisers. He wrote The Social Media Handbook for Financial Advisors: How to Use LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to Build and Grow Your Business.


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