Let's face it. Life is short and we should only be working with those we really enjoy. If you're not doing that - trust me, you're not doing this right.
Oh, I know what you want to say, though. "Sheryl, so-and-so is a pain in the ass, but they are a great client for our office." Yeah? For how long? At what cost?
What you really should be after is a disproportionate amount of the good business that is out there and that means finding the right client for YOU. Not for me. Not from a competitor. This is all about you!
Amy Zimmerman is the Head of Global People Operations (now THAT'S a title) at Kabbage, Inc. and she recently wrote an article for Entrepreneur publication geared toward hiring the best talent - but the rules very much apply to what I'm talking about here with your clients.
1. You're not supposed to work with everyone
It's not a bad thing to say 'no' to work that is outside your immediate expertise. That goes for saying 'no' to clients, too. As I'm going through The Year of No the biggest eye-openers are:
- How much time I've gained helping the right people
- How much happier I am when I'm in my element
- How much more money I'm making because I'm focused
You've got to be asking all clients the right questions from the start to determine who is your best fit. For example, I changed my entire outreach to include an onboarding process for every single person. I adopted this after taking a course from Lucila Williams at The Intentional Advisor and every time I've not followed this process, it's come back to haunt me.
2. What kind of values do you have that you look for in clients?
If you and your clients' values do not align, there will be friction. Are you able to do your best work if your client is supporting a cause you find abhorrent? Just be honest with yourself because part of our work in financial services is due diligence and a larger majority of professionals take it further into fiduciary areas.
Our organizations do not have to be littered with lovefests, but when I've interviewed advisors with successful practices, many of them admit their clients are much like them. Look for this when you focus on your best clients.
3. You say you're an inclusive person, but does your business actually reflect it?
Everyone is so tired of lip service.
Your business is a direct reflection of who you choose to do business with and if everyone looks pretty much like you, do you feel you're really that inclusive? Sounds harsh - but unconscious bias is very real and alive in our businesses today.
I believe more often than not people like to say they are inclusive because it feels good for them to say it. However, inclusivity is never about you - it's about everyone else and whether or not they were invited to the party, invited to connect, invited to do business with you.
If you're not inclusive - that's 100% up to you. Just get real with yourself on whether you are (or aren't) and act accordingly. It's that simple.
4. Are you being yourself to attract the best clients?
After working in social media over the last ten years (yeah - it's actually been around longer than that) I have found that many financial service professionals still suffer from business persona-itis. This means, many of us still think to be credible professionals, we must show up as the old E.F. Hutton ads rather than the Kelly Clarkson that's waiting to come out.
Hint: Everyone likes Kelly way more.
You see, authenticity is the real power here. When you show up being yourself, you attract the very best client for you. There is enough business for everyone, so just focus on being yourself and inviting those individuals who dig your vibe to be a part of your tribe. The rest works itself out.
PERSON OF ACTION: Andy Andrews is one of my favorite humans. If you've not read his work, I highly encourage it. In his book The Traveler's Gift, 'Become a Person of Action' is the third of seven decisions a successful person makes in order to turn their life around. Every blog written by me will end with a call-to-action to become a person of action.
For today's message, I want you to focus on:
- How will you plan differently going forward now that you know differently?
- What process will you create so you can find those very best clients in need of your talent?
- What will you say 'no' to this week so you can say 'yes' to the right things?
- What new circle of individuals will you start working with now that you know inclusivity is never about you?
- Is everything you do reflective of who you really are?
Sheryl Hickerson is an international speaker on social media and digital marketing for financial service professionals and organizations. Currently, Sheryl is the CEO of Females and Finance, an exclusive online networking platform for more than 2,500 women working in financial services as well as the men who champion feminine talent. Additionally, Sheryl is the AVP of Business Development for Highland Capital Brokerage as well as the newly named CEO of Unified Financial Network, a financial service referral platform for financial professionals built by financial professionals - available March 2020.