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By David RichmanNational Director, Eaton Vance Advisor Institute

Over the years, we have facilitated an "optimal client" exercise with many teams. Sometimes, the revelations are quite illuminating. Quite often, teams want to dismiss the merits of this exercise for one of three reasons:

  1. "That's niche marketing talk. We have no niche and are not interested in that approach."
  2. "We like the idea of casting a wide net; after all, we are in a rather small city."
  3. "Different team members work best with different types of clients."

Sometimes these teams humor me and the process uncovers a common denominator or two that never occurred to them. Here are the steps to the exercise:

  1. Have each member of your team write down the first demographic that comes to mind to describe your team's "optimal client"
  2. Go around the room (virtual works just fine) and get everyone to share their thoughts, with one team member as scribe
  3. Repeat step 1 without repeating any prior answer
  4. Repeat step 2
  5. Repeat steps 1 to 4 and replace "demographic" with psychographic
  6. Discuss all the findings and determine if there are common denominators to your most valued relationships

Why is this valuable? If your team is interested in crafting a differentiated set of messaging and marketing initiatives, understanding with whom you work best can have powerful implications.

Bottom line: What you uncover regarding attributes your best clients have in common might surprise you.