What Dragons’ Den Can Teach You About Winning New Clients

Last month, I shared some tips on improving the client experience once they’ve got in touch.

This month, I’m looking at the two key things that successful entrepreneurs and business owners do in winning new clients.

For 14 years, entrepreneurs and business owners from across the country have pitched their ideas on the popular BBC show Dragons’ Den.

Hundreds of deals worth millions of pounds have been made, with success stories ranging from Levi Roots’ Reggae Reggae Sauce to The Magic Whiteboard which gave investors Deborah Meaden and Theo Paphitis an £800,000 return on their £100,000 investment.

There are two things that successful entrepreneurs have in common when pitching to the Dragons:

  1. They know their audience – they have done their research and often market their pitch to a specific dragon who they know will be interested
  2. They have a superb pitch – they tailor their pitch to the audience and have answers to all the questions that they are asked.

As a financial adviser or planner, if you’re looking for new clients then you’re essentially following the Dragons’ Den process.

To be successful, you need to create client personas so that you understand how prospective clients think and what their goals and challenges are.

You then need to have a range of ‘elevator pitches’ ready so that you can sell yourself and your business to a client when the opportunity arises.

Let’s look at these in more detail.

How to create client personas that help you generate new business

Client personas are a fictional collection of characteristics that can be generalised as your ideal type of client. They help you define your ideal customers and understand what type of information is useful to those customers.

Each different persona is based on factors such as:

  • Demographics – age, income, gender, location etc.
  • Interests – social activities, how they spend their spare time
  • Associations – who they follow on social media, where they visit
  • Identifiers – demeanour (are they calm or manic), communication preferences (phone, email etc.)

Need help in creating your client personas? Download our useful template

Creating personas is important as it’s much easier to target the right people when you understand:

  • How they think
  • What their goals are
  • What motivates them
  • What their challenges and worries are
  • The typical things they say
  • Their common objections

The answer to these questions cantell a lot about how your ideal clients behave.

For example, if you realise your ideal client is a Baby Boomer ready to retire, you’ll do more prospecting through referrals and phone calls.

If your ideal client is a millennial entrepreneur, you’ll connect via social media and other digital communication vehicles.

When creating client personas, it’s equally important to know who isn’t the right type of client for your business.

Dealing with multiple enquiries from the wrong type of client is a waste of your time and your marketing budget. Furthermore, if they do slip through the net, there’s a probability they will drain your time, resources and emotions.

Negative client personas are created using the same methodology as your ‘positive’ personas, except they describe the types of people that your company doesn’t (or can’t) work with.

These personas can be used to describe groups of people who:

  • Your products and services are not suitable for
  • Create more issues for the company than benefits
  • Your current skill set, or that of your team, can’t effectively accommodate

By doing this, you’ll ensure your marketing is targeted toward clients who your services will work for. You’ll also gently steer unsuitable clients away from your business and toward a more suitable company or service.

How to use your client personas to improve your marketing

Once you have established your client personas, the next step is using them to inform your marketing strategy.

A prospective client’s ‘buyer’s journey’ is described by HubSpot as ‘the process buyers go through to become aware of, consider and evaluate, and decide to purchase a new product or service.’

The three stages are:

  1. Awareness – your potential client becomes aware of a problem they need to fix. They might ask friends or colleagues about their experiences or read blog posts and articles about financial planning.

To reach the client, you might consider publishing useful articles on the benefits of financial planning and the services you can offer.

  1. Consideration – your potential client defines the problem and researches options that might be able to fix it. They may search for financial advisers/planners in their area and the services they offer.

You can reach the client through a good quality Google My Business listing or website that explains the USPs of your business and why clients should work for you. It will also show positive reviews from clients. You may also outline your fees to show a potential client how your charges work.

  1. Decision – your potential client chooses the option that will best solve their problem. They may still need a nudge to choose your business.

You can reach them by offering them an initial chat to establish whether you are the right adviser/planner for them (and you can find out if they are the right client for you).

Now you’ve created the client personas and worked out how to best market to those clients, you’ll need to have a pitch ready for them. It’s this pitch that separates the Dragons’ Den entrepreneurs who walk out with an investment from those that leave empty-handed.

Create some elevator pitches that work

Now you have client personas and you know your audience; you should have a range of elevator pitches aimed at different prospective clients.If you don’t, you could miss out on an excellent client and a solid sales opportunity.

There are five key elements to include when creating an elevator pitch that works:

  1. Problem – the issue the client is trying to solve
  2. Solution – your solution to this problem
  3. Why You – why you are best placed to provide this solution
  4. Value – the added value that you can offer the client
  5. Call to Action – what happens next

If you need help in creating these elevator pitches, download our useful template

So, you now have the know-how and templates to help you create your client personas and prepare effective elevator pitches. If you need any further help, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Look out for future issues of the Chairman’s blog for more helpful advice in winning new clients and retaining them.


Simon Goldthorpe

Executive Chairman, The Beaufort Group