Have you ever wondered how you can check to make sure any new prospect will be a good fit for your practice?

When we talk about fit, it’s often in the context of your practice culture. In fact, the term probably had its origins in HR, where they’re responsible for finding employees who would do well. HR regularly uses cultural fit as a tool to predict the success potential of job applicants. How successful are they likely to be, given their cultural fit with the organisation?

If we can use fit as a predictor of success potential in an HR context, why can’t we do the same when it comes to identifying the right clients for your services – the ones who’ll use them, love them, and advocate for you?

I’m going to break down this concept into all the ways a client must fit to get the best results for your practice.

Success potential is all about having clients who are capable of achieving success in the first place – why would you want to work with clients who have no possibility of achieving success with your advice? If you fail to make this important distinction from the outset, you will suffer because:

  • A few bad-apple clients take up all of your time and resources
  • They potentially churn quite early in the relationship
  • They churn and tell their friends that your services don’t work.

You might think “Well, wouldn’t bad-fit clients just leave?” Eventually yes, but here’s the thing: Even bad-fit clients want to have success with your service. Your bad-fit clients will try to change you – to break you in – before they stuff you in the back of their proverbial wardrobes.

Bad-fit clients are bad for business but not all clients with potential for success will succeed either. Your job as a business owner or marketer is to sift through all of the prospects and find the ones who have what it takes to achieve greatness with your service.

It’s your responsibility to make sure all the pieces fit. But just as one size never fits all, there isn’t just one type of fit – there are no less than six.

  • Competence fit:What does the client need to learn to be successful with your service, and are they able to learn it?
  • Cultural fit: Does the client share your core values?
  • Experience fit: Are you able to provide the experience they need – the type of help, instruction and support – to be successful with your service?
  • Resource fit:Does the client have the time and money to buy your service, learn to use it, and be successful with it?
  • Functional fit: The features or functions the client must have from your service to be successful.
  • Technical fit: The technology the customer already has to be using, or must acquire, to get value from your service; for example, smartphone, email.

These six types of fit are a good start, but once you start thinking about what ‘fit’ means to your practice, you’ll discover that every practice has to define it for themselves.

What types of fit are most important in predicting the success of your ideal clients? How can you use that criteria to segment clients more effectively, to ensure they get exactly what they need to succeed?

Ray McHale is chief executive and co-founder of start-up advice consultancy MyNextAdvice. McHale contributes exclusively to Professional Planner on using customer relationships to make smarter business decisions.


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