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Gung Ho on Client Segmentation to Improve Satisfaction, Relationships, and Retention

  • By Andrea Schlapia
  • |
  • August 19, 2014

Client Segmentation Strategies Need to Evolve With Clients

Client segmentation is one of the first steps advisors can take towards greater efficiency and ultimately improved profitability. Because a segmentation project can be daunting, many advisors don’t segment clients beyond traditional metrics; grouping clients together based on assets under management and revenue provided to the firm. Financial advisory firms that have taken the time to segment clients are able to:

  • Hone in on an existing book of clients in smaller segments, assign services each segment will receive, and regulate the amount of time to be spent with each group
  • Determine which segments should be targeted in order to reach business development goals

Start your process with this worksheet to segment your top clients. Determine the value of the business relationship and assign a service model to each group.  Ironstone Segmentation Guide

While this is a great start to segmentation, other metrics should be considered in order to preserve the longevity of a client relationship.

Enhance Client Segmentation

Advisors should drive beyond the common segmentation approaches to reach deeper levels of client relationships, satisfaction, and retention. By focusing on client behaviors, assets held outside of your firm, and specific challenges and needs of clients, you will position your firm to provide proactive service versus reactive, secure a competitive advantage, and gain additional referrals.

A recent study released by SEI (NASDAQ: SEIC). “SEI Insights: Can Segmentation Lead to Sustainable Profits?” supports the benefits of augmenting traditional segmentation methods to incorporate behavior patterns of investors.

By becoming familiar with some of the more intimate details of your clients, you can provide targeted products and services rather than a mass of miscellaneous communication that is generic in nature. Targeted messages and educational information will resonate with your clients; resulting in higher engagement levels and response rates along with a shorter conversion cycle.

Consider utilizing some of the following metrics to enhance your segmentation strategy and capture more information about your current client relationships and their potential.

  • Age:Grouping your clients into age groups along with the percentage of assets under management controlled by each group will help you identify market potential. This is becoming a key segmentation method practiced by advisors, as the shift in wealth moves from boomers to younger generations. Too many clients in older age brackets can be risky, considering many of them are in a distribution stage.
  • Net Worth: Clients may have a considerable amount of wealth held in real estate. It is important to identify the potential that lies with each client and assess the value of the relationship.Doing so will allow you to provide a high level of service and the potential to acquire new assets.
  • Investable Assets: Many clients will spread their assets out among multiple advisors, seemingly to reduce their risk or to maintain control. Knowing which clients have assets held outside of your firm will position you to potentially move the dollars to your firm.

The metrics listed above represent various measures of client segmentation; however, there are others you should consider:

  • Cost of Service
  • Number of Referrals Provided
  • Degree of Influence/Value of the Relationship
  • Behavioral Patterns
  • Client Demographics

An effective segmentation strategy will align the appropriate level of advisor support to client’s specific needs, increase efficiency within your firm, and provide an organized means to your communication with clients. Review your segmentation strategy on a regular basis. Make adjustments as needed in order to discover new opportunities that will help you increase your assets under management.

The foundation of our Performance Coaching and Consulting Programs are based on Ironstone’s Fundamental 4™, which is essential to design, develop, and sustain a successful business. Our ultimate goal is to help you avoid trial and error; shifting your mindset to launch your process of intentional change. [LEARN MORE]

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Author Bio

Andrea Schlapia, RCC™, HCS, sHRBP, is the Founder and CEO of Ironstone, which represents the culmination of her 20+ year career within the financial services industry. Her experience began as a financial advisor evolving into a consultant coach for advisors entering the field. This ignited her passion to support others through learning and development of best practices in order to achieve substantial results. To this end, she followed her desire into positions of senior-level practice management specialists for Dreyfus, Prudential, and DWS Investments prior to the realization of Ironstone.  Andrea’s focus is on practice management strategies to enhance and improve both business and personal life. Andrea identifies 4 key performance areas known as the Fundamental 4™, which are required to design, develop, and sustain a successful business. Through coaching sessions and speaking engagements, she captivates her audience with interactive, high-energy presentations which are built with “how-to” strategies resulting in real-world implementation for significant impact. Andrea has been featured in multiple publications and audio broadcasts as a specialist and distinguished spokeswoman in the financial industry.