Ensuring good client fit for your practice is an essential step when evaluating the success potential of a new prospect.
When we talk about fit, it’s often in the context of your practice culture. In fact, the term probably had its origins in the world of HR where they were responsible for finding employees likely to 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?
Why is client fit important?
The industry is currently undergoing a rapid transformation, largely based on increasing compliance, advances in technology and consumer preferences and expectations. These factors are changing the business models of many practices, making it more expensive to provide advice to all clients and encouraging a greater focus on being clear about the types of clients you wish to support.
If we can use fit as a predictor of success potential in a HR context, why can’t you do the same when it comes to identifying the right clients for your services – the ones who’ll use and pay for them, love them, and advocate for you?
We’re going to break this concept down into all the ways a client must fit to get the best results for your practice.
Implications of not confirming success potential
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 disengage.
Bad fit clients are bad for business, but not all clients with potential for success will succeed either. Your job as a practice 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 advice.
Types of Fit
It’s your responsibility to make sure all the pieces fit. But just like 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 advice, and are they able to learn it?
- Cultural Fit – does the client share your core values, without which you wouldn’t work well together?
- Experience Fit – are you able to provide the appropriate experience they need – the type of help, advice and support – to be successful with your services?
- Resource Fit – does the client have the time and money to buy your advice, learn to use it, and be successful with it?
- Functional Fit – what are the features or functions the client must have from your advice to be successful?
- Technical Fit – does the client currently use or can acquire the technology to get value from your advice e.g. smartphone, email?
Maybe it’s worth developing a checklist incorporating these types of fit and defining what you expect a good fit would look like under each category.
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 really has to define ‘fit’ 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?