In this episode of The Ultimate Advisor Podcast, we focus on who you can best serve in your niche or market that best fits your service model and the offerings that you provide. We discuss defining your avatar and developing the mindset needed in order to say yes to your ideal client and no to everyone else that does not fit. So, push PLAY and join us as we delve into how to become crystal clear on who you serve.
Speaker 1: This is The Ultimate Advisor Podcast, the podcast for financial advisors who want to create a thriving, successful and scalable practice. Each week, we'll uncover the ways that you can improve your referrals, your team, your marketing, and your business operations, helping you to level up your advising practice, bring in more assets, and create the advising practice that you've dreamed of. You'll be joined by your hosts Bryan Sweet, who has more than half a billion dollars in assets under management; Brittany Anderson, the driving force for advisors looking to hire, improve their operations and company culture; and Draye Redfern who can help you systematize and automate your practice's marketing to effortlessly attract new clients. So, what do you say? Let's jump in to another amazing episode of The Ultimate Advisor Podcast.
Brittany: Welcome back to The Ultimate Advisor Podcast. This is Brittany Anderson and today we are going to talk about who you can best serve. Now in episode number five we touched on the topic of establishing an avatar. Our partner Draye Redfern, he talked about how it's not the little blue guys that you might be thinking of, but rather who you can best serve in your niche or your market. Who best fits your service model? Who best fits the offerings that you provide?
Brittany: So that's what we're going to talk about today. We're going to go in depth about establishing that avatar, but also talk a little bit about mindset as that really sets the tone in being able to say yes to your ideal and say no to everybody else that does not fit. So our goal for you today is to make the whole concept of defining your avatar and your business ELF. Joe Polish, creator of Genius Network, he describes that as easy, lucrative, and fun. So that's what we want to focus on for your business and who you serve because it's not fun dealing with people that are a pain, right, who don't fit your ideal offerings. So we want to make sure that you are honing in on the right people.
Brittany: When building a business, I just want to set the tone for this, you need to understand that you absolutely do not have to work with everyone. And in fact, if you go down that path where you just say yes to everybody that comes across, yes to every check that presents itself in front of you, you're actually doing yourself and your business a disservice. So again, what we're going to focus on today is how you can identify who you can best help and who fits your ideal?
Brittany: So Bryan, I thought that you would be a great one to touch on this a little bit, just about how getting in the proper mindset can really benefit your business and help you scale in a whole new way. So Bryan, I'm going to turn it over to you and have you chat a little bit about how that's impacted you and your business.
Bryan Sweet: Yeah, I think it's an interesting concept because I think what we do as advisors is a lot of times, we don't give this subject even any thought. People call, people get a referral, or you get a new client some other way and you accept them without really thinking through it. And I would tell you that once you have the proper mindset and a process that you follow on a consistent basis, it just makes, one, your life and your processes work so much smoother. And one of the things that we try and do is we want to build our marketing to attract our ideal client and also we want to repel everybody else. So that's where getting really clear on who it is that is your ideal client and describing that in infinite detail in all of your marketing, fitting that design, really, really, really is helpful.
Bryan Sweet: So I think a couple of things that I'll just mention real quickly is I think one of the key things that you want to do is just jot down what are the characteristics of, say, your five best clients that you work with? Everything from what do they do for an occupation, things you enjoy about them, interests that they have, and just create a really long list and find out what are the similarities? And then you personally, who do you find that you work well with or work well best with and start creating that mindset or that target audience and then look at everything that you do so that it makes sure that it fits that.
Bryan Sweet: And then a couple of things that we've done is then we've gone back and we've actually rated our clients, and you can do it anything from platinum to gold, ABC, 123. And one of the things that you want to be doing as the primary advisor is you want to be working with the ones that most fit that ideal. So maybe you work with the gold and the platinum, and then if you're looking at growing your practice, an easy thing to do without having to get rid of the rest is simply to delegate those Cs and Ds or the silvers and the bronzes to another advisor that you might bring onto the firm or a junior advisor that you have.
Bryan Sweet: So one, you have more time to spend with your best clients. Two, you have more time to actually go out and find more of them. And that helps you scale your practice. So those little things I think are very helpful, and I'm going to turn it over to Draye because I know, Draye, you've got some amazing thoughts on this concept also.
Draye Redfern: So I think with avatars it's so, so important to actually have an avatar. Number one, know who you're actually serving. We see a lot of door advisors where an advisor will just take any client who walks in the door, and that's not necessarily a great thing. We know that it's important, starting out, you want to make ends meet, you want to do some of these things to really keep the business operational, keep it running, and that's unfortunately the nature that some people where they have to start.
Draye Redfern: But as soon as you start getting some clients, you start having a little bit of systematization and you really start getting more of a flow to the practice, it really, really helps to actually define your avatar even more. So some of the ways that we recommend doing that is actually by taking just one of your avatars. So as an example, let's use Sweet Financial as an example. There's more than one target avatar in the Sweet Financial world. There's women in transition, there's small business owners, and those are just two of them. Well, you're not going to communicate to a woman in transition the same way that you would to someone who is running a successful six or seven or eight-figure business. It's just two very different ways in which you communicate, and they probably have two different background, two different pain points, two different experiences, all of these sorts of things.
Draye Redfern: So one of the things that we really recommend doing is taking a sheet of paper, and you can literally just halve it down the middle. Put male on one side and female on the other. This is most likely going to be for just one of your niches, because most advisors have two, maybe three niches where they're having more success. So on one side male, the other side female. Then you go down the list and answer certain questions, and we can give a download in the show notes for this episode page where you can download this specific example. But you can have where you basically put their name. Like what is their name? What is the best client that you identify with, what is their name? Because it helps you to actually humanize them, it helps you to get a really good idea of how you can almost replicate this person, like what Bryan was saying a second ago.
Draye Redfern: Then you can go down the list of what type of car do they drive? Are they a middle-aged woman who drives a soccer or the soccer minivan to drive all the kids to and from practices? Are they a successful business owner who has some sort of cabriolet sports car? It sounds dumb initially talking about it but when you actually really specify some of these things, you can use that in your marketing. As a specific example, if you're catering to that business owner who has the convertible car, the cabriolet, you can use that to say like, "We know that you work really hard during the week, but when it comes to the weekend and it's time to play, how much you can enjoy putting the top down and rolling to your favorite destination on the beach," or whatever it is. You can use more of that language in your marketing to target that person and have a much more deeper relationship.
Draye Redfern: But then you can go even further. What zip code do they live in? Or even more specifically, what neighborhood do they live in? So if you want to target the wealthiest clientele in town, most likely they're in a gated community or you know specifically that one zip code is going to be more affluent than another and that's a really quick and easy way to really hone in on that demographic. So if you wanted to do direct mail strategies or you wanted to do different other strategies along those lines by refining where that person or where that type of people live, it helps you even further. You can just go down this list that we'll provide to you, and I really encourage you to fill it out and do it for each of your niches.
Draye Redfern: In the marketing world as a whole, as a marketing consultant, we really recommend to refine your niches and your avatar as best as possible. But we do recognize that even the most successful firms have more than one avatar. So I would encourage you, download the exercise and then go through it for each of your primary two or three niches. If you have more than that, then I'd probably say it would be worth refining it down a little bit more because it's probably not what is yielding you the best bang for your buck, both attention-wise, operationally, and as far as growing your practice to the next level.
Draye Redfern: So the other thing that I probably want to mention there is that when you do this, what's going to happen, and Bryan referenced this a second ago, is it's going to allow you to really refine your language much, much more specifically to target these people in the way that they like to be communicated to. As an example from a second ago, a woman who's in transition, maybe she just lost her husband, is going to want to be communicated to much, much differently than someone who is running a small business. Two very different communication styles and you don't want to repel them for the wrong reasons.
Draye Redfern: So you want to attract the right type of clients who are going to be the best fit for you. You can use the avatar exercise to do that, and what's going to happen is as you go through more of those processes you can then repel the wrong fit clients who maybe you could help them, but someone else could probably help them or they're not going to be the best fit for your firm or one of ten thousand other reasons. And you can happily send them elsewhere because you want to focus on those right-fit avatars because that's where you really grow your practice and scale it effectively and efficiently. So Brittany, I just dumped a lot on there, but I know that you probably have some thoughts to round that out given the Sweet Financial framework.
Brittany: Yeah, and actually Draye, as you were talking, and Bryan too, a couple things that you mentioned initially, there's two things that popped into my head here. Going even further than just identifying your niche, your avatar, who you work with and getting crystal clear on that, there's a couple things that happen because of that activity.
Brittany: So number one, just a couple weeks ago I was coaching a client and this particular person, it's a financial advisor, they are literally the top financial advisor with their broker-dealer. Very successful, have an amazing practice. They were going through this exercise of the avatar. We were talking through it, and their business, their practice, is completely built around doing the best for the client, right? Serving their people best. It is all about the client, there is nothing about them.
Brittany: Well, in looking at their website and all of their communications, everything was actually about them as a company and not about their avatar. So it was interesting, as we got crystal clear on who they best serve, they realized as a second fold that their whole messaging strategy was not where they wanted it to be because instead of having communication on, "Here you are, here's how our practice can best serve you, here's how you're going to benefit, here's what you get out it," it was all Is, mes, and mine. "This is what we do at the company, this is how I can serve you, this is what our team does."
Brittany: So really getting clear on that demographic of who you serve can help you strategically market your firm better to be all about that particular client, that particular demographic versus all about you. Because the bottom line is, and I know we've mentioned this in previous episodes, the bottom line is that your client, your prospect, they don't care about you. They care about how you can help them. They care about how you can serve them in the best way possible so that they can focus on the things that are most important in their life.
Brittany: Now, the second thing that came to mind as both Draye and Bryan, as both of you were talking, is that it's not only about attracting the correct avatar, attracting that correct niche. But it's also in helping you, again, get your mindset in the right space for your existing client base. Now, I can attest to this because of how many different financial advisors and practices we've worked with. A big pain point is when you have a client leave you, right? That's painful.
Brittany: At Sweet Financial Services, our goal year over year, and we have stayed true to this and we have met this goal, is 98-99% retention. It should never go below that because that means that we're doing something wrong, right? If we have high turnover, we are not standing up to our service levels and our core values. Now, the thing that can help you get comfortable with some of the turnover that does happen is that nine times out of 10, if you take the client that is leaving you, and if you've stood true to your service principles, you've stood true to your deliverables, if you look at the people that've left, oftentimes in a high-scale practice, it's because that person was probably not your ideal fit.
Brittany: They were probably not that ideal avatar, and so when that transition happens, when you have a client leave you, you can actually put them through that avatar filter that you've created to say, "Okay, is it something that we should have done different? Or should that person maybe not have even been a client in the first place?" Right? So that helps you get your mind around, as people shift out, as you have that transition, as you have some client turnover, you can actually look at that from a different perspective. And again, it's mindset. Because oftentimes, and I know Bryan can attest to this, when you have a client leave, you can't help but take it personally. You can't help but feel that kind of gut check where you're like, "Man, what did I do wrong?" Well, again, maybe after putting them through that avatar filter you can actually see that they maybe weren't the best fit for you to begin with.
Brittany: So the other thing that I want to kind of round out this particular session with is that Warren Buffett said it best, right? So he said, there's a quote, and I'm going to direct quote him. "The difference between successful people and really successful people is that the really successful people say no to almost everything." Right? So when you look at your avatar, when you look at defining who your target audience is, it makes it a lot easier, like Bryan mentioned initially, to repel the people that you know are not the best fit.
Brittany: So like Draye referenced also, we don't want you to take on every person that comes to your door with a check. We want you to take who's going to be the best fit, who's going to give you energy, excitement. You want the clients where when you see them on your calendar you're like, "Yes, I get to meet with Mr. and Mrs. Smith today. They are awesome, they are fun, they take our advice, they listen to what we say, and they are just rocking it, right? They are doing everything that they can to live that ultimate retirement, to build their finances." Whatever your niche is, whatever your expertise is, they're taking advantage and they're listening and absorbing your services.
Brittany: So that is really important, understand that it's okay to say no. It can be scary if you're trying to scale your business, if you're trying to build your practice, to turn away paychecks essentially but what you're doing is you're freeing yourself up to really be able to deliver the ultimate service to the people that are going to best benefit from you.
Brittany: So I want you to really focus on, like Draye said, download those tools, go through that exercise of identifying your avatar. If you already have an avatar, if you've already done something like this, I encourage you to do it again because you may have a new clarity around your service model and around what value you can provide that maybe you didn't have the last time that you did that. So it's a good exercise to go through on an annual basis just to make sure that you're still going in the right direction, that your service offerings haven't changed or shifted at all. So really that's what I would encourage you to do, is to make this an annual activity.
Brittany: So before we round out, Draye, is there anything else that you want to add just in the whole creation, because you have helped so many people create that avatar?
Draye Redfern: Yeah, I think as a closing thing, is a lot of advisors, you see this all the time, is they think that, "I know my advisor, or I know my client, I know exactly who this person is." But they've never actually taken the time to put pen to paper and actually write it out. Because usually what ends up happening is when you go through the exercises that you can download in the show notes at UltimateAdvisorCoaching.com, is you'll be able to see and get a little bit more perspective on some of the facets that make up that person. When you actually put pen to paper, physically going through that action, it really does create a very sort of different feel, different approach, different methodology and way of thinking about it that just by going about your day and just thinking, "I know who this person is," doesn't necessarily provide to you.
Draye Redfern: So I would encourage every single person, go to UltimateAdvisorCoaching.com, download that avatar exercise and worksheet. It's completely free, there's no cost to it, and it may really help you better define who that specific person is for you so that as we go through the rest of these Ultimate Advisor Podcast episodes, you can use that to really refine your marketing much more effectively.
Brittany: Perfect. So, next episode you guys are going to want to tune into this because we're going to talk about taking this avatar to the next level and fully automating it. So it's going to be interesting, it's going to be unique, and I really look forward to diving in as we talk about automating your avatar next time, next episode, make it a fabulous day.
Draye Redfern: Hey there, Draye Redfern here and before you go, we just wanted to say thank you for listening to this week's episode of The Ultimate Advisor Podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, then please subscribe to the show on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, or Spotify and be sure to rate us five stars on iTunes because when you do, you'll be entered into a monthly drawing for our Ultimate Advisor Coaching program, which is a $2000 value. And if you would like to access more of the show notes, additional resources, and our free premium content, then please visit UltimateAdvisorPodcast.com. We look forward to seeing you in the next episode of The Ultimate Advisor Podcast. We'll see you there.
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The Ultimate Advisor podcast is a business podcast for financial advisors who are looking to grow their advising practices with greater ease and effectiveness. Ultimate Advisor was developed to help financial advisors master their marketing, sell their services with greater authority, generate repeat clients, and additional revenue in their business.
Each week, your hosts Draye Redfern, Bryan Sweet, and Brittany Anderson will share some of the closest guarded secrets from successful financial advising practices across the U.S.
Draye is also the founder of UltimateAttorney.com which helps Attorneys go from “Surviving” to “Thriving” in their business. In addition, Draye helps to provide insurance solutions to more than 8,600 law firms across the United States annually.
Founder of Sweet Financial, CEO, Wealth Advisor, RJFS
Creator of The Dream Architect™
Co-founder of Dare to Dream Enterprises
Creator of Elite Wealth Advisor Symposium
Author of 3 books – Dare to Dream: Design the Retirement You Can’t Wait to Wake Up To, Imagine. Act. Inspire. A Daily Journal and Give & Grow: Proven Strategies for Starting an Running and Effective Study Group
Director of Operations at Sweet Financial, Office Manager, RJFS
Co-founder of Dare to Dream Enterprises
Author of 2 books – Imagine. Act. Inspire. A Daily Journal & Dare to Dream: Design the Retirement You Can’t Wait to Wake Up To
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