There’s a mistake I see many financial services professionals making in the name of attracting more business, and it holds their business back and keeps them playing small. What is that mistake? Not defining their target clients or choosing a niche.
I often hear financial services professionals shy away from choosing a specific niche because they’re afraid of limiting the playing field and they don’t want to miss out on potential opportunities, connections, or growth.
One major pitfall of not choosing a niche however is that it is much harder to stand out in a larger pond amongst your competitors. You have to fight against so many other professionals for a chance at that client’s business. All of your content will be generic, and you’ll be covering anything and everything that may or may not appeal to your ideal client. This is a huge waste of time, energy, and money. In terms of networking opportunities this comes down to how you will decide where to show up, and how to help others how to refer to you.
This is somewhat more challenging when it comes to marketing, however is tremendously useful for building your business and being successful. Having a specific marketing focus makes it easier for you to stand out, be remembered, and be attractive to your ideal client. For example, once you have chosen your niche you’ll be able to speak on topics that are laser focused and address concerns of a specific group while generating interest in your services and attracting your ideal clients.
If you’re networking with professional referral sources like estate planning attorneys and CPAs, how will you stand out if you’re serving “everyone”? A great way to stand out is by being expert in who you do serve and how you serve them. This also gives you more of an opportunity to learn about the specific needs of one specific group versus trying to address the needs of everyone.
For example, if your niche is doctors, the longer you work with them the more you learn about how to work with them. You learn more about their needs and how you can best support and meet them. As an advisor, you need to come up with a marketing focus and dig deep into the community of your chosen niche. Having that targeted niche enables you to focus your energy to learn most effectively what will work for those target clients, and how you’ll set them up to win.
Due diligence to evaluate and confirm that your chosen niche will support your goals is a crucial part of this process. How many people are in the target group in your area? If you’ve chosen a smaller community and you determine the numbers aren’t sufficient, you’ll need to reevaluate your niche. For instance, if you were going to focus on female physicians and the numbers weren’t sufficient, perhaps you’d like to expand your niche to be professional women instead, and create subcategories to serve different groups.
If you’re new to the profession or are wondering if you’ve chosen a specific enough niche for your business, think about the big picture. If you enjoy working with professional women, are your marketing efforts clearly focused on attracting professional women? Bottom line — to be the most successful, you need to define your targeted niche and learn how to serve that group to meet their needs and effectively market to them.
Another reason it’s so crucial to choose a niche is attracting clients and knowing if it makes sense to serve a prospect. Say your niche is engineers who make $175,000, and an engineer you work with refers a professional outside that industry, like a doctor, are you ready to evaluate if it make sense to serve them?
It’s ok if a potential client is outside of your niche as long as they satisfy your other criteria — do they have assets you want to manage? Is your service model going to work for them? Can you serve them the same way you serve other clients even though they have a different profession, or will you have to spend time and energy creating something entirely new to serve them?
By defining your niche, you’re also able to laser focus where you expend marketing dollars and your time and energy, as well as be able to better understand if a client outside your niche is a profitable client to serve. Is it a win-win?
If you are wondering how to narrow the focus and define your own niche (and make you more successful in the process), email me now firstname.lastname@example.org
I look forward to speaking with you.
Transitioning a Business After a Partnership Break-Up
Before our work together, this client had made a decision to break up his current partnership and start his own independent practice. His primary goals for the year were twofold – to transition his favorite clients from the partnership into his own independent practice and generate revenue of $350k.
We started with mapping out his overall vision to support his focus and ultimately his business model. This client is a family man and his main intent was to have a practice that netted $500k or more annually and experience balance at the same time between his work and his personal life.
In order to support his conversations with his top clients that he wanted to transition to his new practice, we started with the focus on his brand. My intent was to support him with a focused niche (target market and area of expertise), create a slogan that would simplify and support communication, define his branded system, create tier structures to support his business model and the sales conversation and ultimately, create a customized marketing plan.
Through a process of analysis, we determined that his top clients that he most enjoyed serving and the serving of which supported his financial goals, were business owners and executives. This advisor was a natural fit to serve this market as he had extensive experience effectively serving this market previously and he had relationships established already in these communities. As a business owner himself, he could personally and professionally identify with the business owners and he enjoyed serving them – all important factors when considering which niche makes the most sense for marketing focus purposes.
The next step was to determine his area of expertise which was comprehensive financial planning as he truly delivered a wide variety of services and products to support business owners and executives with their diverse needs. He had a focus on investment management, retirement planning, estate planning as well as college planning. He sold a variety of products to support his clients with their overall needs including key man insurance, long term care insurance, life insurance, and disability insurance.
Once we had his target market and area of expertise identified, we created his slogan: Comprehensive Financial Planning for Business Owners and Executives. (A slogan is a communication tool that briefly states what you do and for whom.) Having a slogan supports marketing conversations in being focused and effective.
Next, we created his branded system. A branded system is a step-by-step communication system that supports advisors with communicating how they do business, what they provide, tier structures and how the client can best be served.
From there, we mapped out his customized marketing plan which included his goals and his marketing channels – the avenues through which he would attract his ideal clients. His initial primary marketing channels included clients from his previous practice, professional referral sources, clients’ referrals, networking as well as a social media campaign.
Once the marketing plan was clarified, he was inspired to focus on transitioning the clients into his own practice first. He was extremely effective at this process and wound up with 95% of targeted clients. As a bonus, he was also effective at attracting additional business owners and executives as clients in support of the future sustainability of his practice.
At the end of the year, this client was in a place to celebrate his success as he generated revenue of $397k from clients that he transitioned into the practice as well as new ones. On a personal note, he ran a marathon, took 3 weeks of family vacations and became a father to a set of twin girls! It was a very exciting year!
The Power of Clarifying Your Ideal Client
I see a lot out there in the media today about “attracting your ideal client”. Why is understanding who your clients are so important?
It is essential to know the key differences in personalities of the high-net-worth earners who will be your future clientele. You will then be better positioned to take your business to a higher level by attracting exactly the right kind of clients for your expertise. Once you have gone through my step-by-step process of clarifying who your ideal client is, you will have taken the first step toward completing my 7 Step Process to Reaching Your Ideal Client. (more…)
Mind Set for Success
Welcome to my Blog! If this is your first time visiting me, I hope you find the information here uplifting and useful as a financial services professional. My goal with this blog is to offer material that is not only helpful for you to supercharge your practice, but will also assist you in having a new and different perspective within the financial services field.
As a certified business development Coach, part of what I do is assist people in viewing their practice in a whole new light. Sometimes this means breaking through old belief structures and adjusting strategies or sometimes it is just about adopting a new viewpoint on something that you may have looked at 100 times in the same old way. Either way, there are some essential questions I typically start out with that help when working with Mindset. (more…)