The Number One Challenge With Ideal Client Acquisition, and How To Solve It

I get it. I was a financial advisor for over 20 years, so I get the problem with ideal client acquisition. It is not that you can’t acquire ideal clients, you are already successful. It’s not lack of confidence or knowledge, you have that. You have all the tools to acquire more ideal clients, but you choose not to because of one thing. Your compass. Lacking clear direction on how many ideal clients and families you and your team can manage and not having a plan to get there. Too many transactional clients take up too much time and want too much service.

What is holding you back?

How many ideal clients or ideal families can your practice manage? Time pressures occur on a daily basis for advisors who are not organized and lack discipline in time management. I get it. You are constantly feeling behind in all of your client service tasks, emails, and daily meeting notes. The last thing you want to do right now is to acquire a new ideal client. The first thing that goes through your mind to pick up the phone is that you don’t have enough time. So you justify to yourself that if I get caught up, I will make the call. Then you are caught up and you tell yourself, once I have an ideal client service process, you will make the call. Then you build the ideal client service process and you tell yourself, once I test it out with other clients, then I will make the call. Do you have a proven scripted process for ideal client acquisition? Is it working for the next level and ideal clients? Sound familiar? 

First things first

Steven Covey wrote in 1994 a book called “First things First” Steven Covey, A. Roger Merrill, and Rebecca R. Merrill. Simon & Schuster Trade; 1 edition (March 1 1994) It offers a time management approach that, if established as a habit, is intended to help a person achieve "effectiveness" by aligning him- or herself to "First Things". The key word is habit. This book is a must-read for financial advisors, even though it was written 25 years ago. Time management, however, is not the number one challenge for financial advisors. As Stephen Covey says in the book” Rather than offering you another clock, this approach provides you with a compass-because more important than how fast you’re going, is where you’re headed”. Where is your compass pointing you?

Where are you headed?

Do you want to acquire more ideal clients, or do you want to increase your revenue from a smaller number of ideal clients? Getting more clients will increase your problems, that is why you are not doing client acquisition activities. You know you must build your business, but doing it the same way and adding more staff doesn’t sit right with you. So what do you do? As Albert Einstein said” doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results” is the definition of insanity. This is Monday morning thinking that challenges advisors to achieve an ideal lifestyle. Instead, most advisors will delete this article and not make the ideal calls today. Who is on your ideal call list today? 

How to solve it

You must change your thinking. Time management won’t work in the long run if you have too many non-ideal clients. You need a compass, to give you a greater probability of success in the future. That compass changed my business forever. My compass was my coach and mentor Bill Bachrach. 

He showed me that focusing on ideal people instead of transactional people, will change your world. He was right. The transactional people make us anxious, so we feel we need to be there to service them. So we don’t bring on new ideal clients because those transactional people are actually holding us back from our true potential in business. I was spending over 50% of my time with transactional clients. Where are you spending your time? Bill showed me that spending time with the ideal prospect and ideal client is your compass. These people are who you enjoy spending time with, they appreciate you and what you do and introduce you to other people like them. They value you as much as you value them.


I have two sayings in front of me to remind me of the compass. I have structured my life so I don’t spend any time with unmotivated people or advisors… I want to spend time with interesting people, who do interesting things. In my coaching program, I ask advisors to make a “first things first “ list. This is a list of your ideal clients, ideal prospects, and ideal opportunities. This is where you want to spend your time now and in the future. Where are you spending your ideal time today? Get rid of the clock and find your compass. The compass will guide you. Go and find yours.

Related: How Do Financial Advisors Talk About Performance?