Being specific about your ideal client

A quick test of your referability

In a client driven practice, clients drive strategy through their unique needs and wants and drive business development through referrals. Here’s a quick way to see how referable you are. Ask your clients the ideal people who should work with you – who comes to mind when they think of your firm?

This has become a standard question in the client advisory boards we do. And here are the most common responses:

  • People who are unhappy with their portfolio
  • People who need a plan
  • Everyone

That’s not good news because it does not speak to any of your unique value or capabilities.

A referral happens when someone you know is talking with another who could be a prospective client and you come to mind. If your clients believe everyone should come to you, it is hard to imagine when exactly you would come to mind in a conversation.

Anyone who believes everyone should hire you cannot be an effective referral source.

Our research shows that firms who talk about their target client frequently get more referrals. The more you can remind people about the profile of client you are looking for, the more you will receive. If you cannot articulate clearly the description of your ideal client, you have no hope of other people knowing who to refer to you.

You have something special to offer the right person. Who is the person you are perfect for? Try this experiment and see how well your clients understand who to send to you.


If you would like a free checklist to see if your communications differentiate you from your competition, click here.

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