From Hunters, Farmers and the Power of the 80/20 Rule
"Start simple, start now." That's the motto in the world of startups. In the Silicon Valley way of thinking, you don't create huge concepts, but you start small instead. The reason is that in the end, you might be intimidated by the amount of work you will need to do to see your vision through. This can lead you to throw your hands up in despair or bury your head in the sand. Also, this means start now - not at some point in the future, blindly, but with deliberation.
This article on “Customer Acquisition” is intended to give you a detailed understanding of this approach, and what your first (and fundamental) steps, toward being successful are.
So, let’s not think too big or abstractly about acquisition, but start with our first consideration: What kind of advisor are you? Have you ever asked yourself that? Or are you simply trying to achieve your sales goals somehow? It is essential, that you know yourself and how you operate. Only then, can you focus on the actions that best suit you. You can discover which ones are the most promising, after the introduction on these profile types below.
Are you more of an extroverted person who likes approaching other people, and can do so with ease? Are you a person who finds it easy to get in touch with others and who doesn't find small talk challenging? Then you belong to the so-called "Hunters" among advisors. You are a real people magnet and are like a fish in water, when you are attending events with potential clients.
Or, rather, do you prefer to surround yourself with familiar faces? Someone who doesn't like to make a big impression and who might even be uncomfortable when trying to approach potential clients standing at the bar, with their drink in hands. Are you particularly fond of taking care of your existing clients, would you walk through fire for them? If yes, then you are a "Farmer" - and belong to the greater majority of advisors.
Surely these profile types are rarely fixed but ask yourself honestly, where do you see yourself more? There is no evaluation here one is not better than the other, they are just different. You can increase your assets under management regardless of where you fall into. And that's what it's all about in the end, isn't it? If you think about which group you belong to, you have the advantage of not struggling with actions that will cost you too much energy and you can be more authentic in your communication.
So, what are the most important considerations that a “Hunter” needs to make, if they want to do acquisition?
- Find your niche
Not every customer is a fit for you and not every customer group is equally profitable. But if I'm not interested in cars, I probably won’t choose the Porsche Club as my new customer acquisition area. For example, one of our clients is incredibly successful by focusing on radiologists and the “fly fishing” community. He has been doing this for years and now knows about the special characteristics and needs of the target group. It is important to be authentic, to be able to relate with the customers and to understand the needs and interests of the consumer group. And if you can also combine your hobby with acquisition – all the better!
- The elevator pitch must be right
When you introduce yourself to a potential customer, it must be short and crisp. The intro must be memorable and provide a starting point for deepening the conversation. Practice the pitch as often as you can and be courageous. Because: You don’t get a second chance at a first impression!
- Get out more
Network as often as you can, there is nothing to lose. Only if you go out, you are seen and can gather useful and successful experiences. And you will need them, because there will be enough frustrating moments.
- Be sustainable
Do you attend an event once and then never again or only after a long time? That is clearly of no use. If you have identified the right club, event series, etc. for you, then you must be there regularly and perhaps also volunteer so you can become part of that community. That's why it's so important that the topic and the people are close to your interesses. If it’s always a struggle to go out every time, you won’t be able to keep it up in the long run.
- Be creative
For example, find common ground with your target customers. Example: You are focusing on the managing director of a traditional company and you work in a bank that equally stands for a long tradition. Voilà, there is one thing you both have in common! Or you can start an event with interesting topics that can be discussed over a small breakfast, such as investing in diamonds, classic cars, art, wealth succession, etc.
Let’s now turn to the best tips for “Farmers”. As said, most advisors are a mixture between both profile types and can certainly take suggestions from either side. In addition, every successful “Hunter” inevitably becomes a “Farmer”.
- Don't use the scattershot approach
“The more, the better” is not the right approach. You must clearly segment your customers. Make it clear which customers are the most profitable and concentrate especially on them.
- 80/ 20 Rule - Pareto was right
Vilfredo Pareto (1848-1923) found that 80% of the output is generated by 20% of the input. In other words, only 20% of your efforts are responsible for 80% of your results. Make yourself aware of this and structure your acquisition measures accordingly.
- But don't overlook the pearls
There are always customers with whom you don't earn a lot now, but who have great potential. For a valid segmentation, i.e. to know, who is worth how much effort, you need a lot of information about your customers. Especially, whether and if so, which and how many assets they own outside the ones you manage.
- Don't get caught
You are a born caregiver and you cannot refuse a wish from your dearest customers. Unfortunately, the customers who demand the most attention are not always the most profitable. So, learn to say no when a B customer asks you to go the extra mile. This will leave you with plenty of time to focus on A customers.
- To each other their own
Each of your customers has a different personality. The emotional gut-instinct decision maker must therefore be approached differently than the factual type who prefers figures and data. There are a variety of methods to better understand and classify people. Bio-structure analysis is a method with which some of our customers have already had very good experiences. Not too complicated and easy to implement.
Finally, a piece of advice: Do not leave your acquisition success to chance. Finding new customers or increasing your portfolio is not a matter of luck. You need a clear plan and a lot of stamina. But in the end, you will be successful.