When you have a reputation for expertise, clients and professional networks will refer new clients who fit your target market
An adviser attending one of our recent workshops greeted me and smiled, saying, “I want to thank you because I’m really kicking some goals. The niche works!”
I immediately knew what he meant.
One of the most valuable pieces of practical advice we offer advisers is to specialise in serving an attractive niche. Unfortunately, many fail to establish such a niche, for reasons such as:
- Not really understanding the nature and true value of a niche practice
- Not knowing how to effectively identify, evaluate and settle on a niche
- An inability — or unwillingness — to make the necessary leap of faith
This article provides the information you need to break through these barriers.
How did this particular adviser do it?
Based on our advice, he rapidly refocused his energy to serve wealthy widows in a particular region of Sydney. Through his personal commitment and enthusiasm to help these women, he has turned them into clients and made a substantial difference to their lives. Professionally and personally, his life is flourishing.
What use is a niche?
Instead of servicing a specific niche market, over time most advisers tend to collect a variety of clients with little in common. Yes, advisers might have two or three corporate executives, doctors, or divorcees, but overall there is no specific need or challenge facing these clients, and therefore there is no unique value proposition for the adviser.
What about advisers with declared minimum fees, claiming to serve the niche of “those wealthy enough to meet requirements”? Well, having greater-than-X wealth doesn’t say anything about who the clients are, their complex needs, or how to best serve them. You really can’t be an expert in the needs of the wealthy generally. It’s too broad and diverse a segment of humanity to capably handle.
If you instead focus on the unique needs of those in a specific niche, you can build extraordinary expertise and add tremendous value through your focused services. A niche practice positions you to become a well known expert who offers world-class service and solutions for those in the niche.
Once you’re established as expertly serving those in your niche, “pull marketing” becomes easy. Clients reach their own conclusions about the profound value you add to their lives, bring you more of their business, and refer new clients similar to themselves.
How do you find the right niche for you?
Where are your talents so precisely deployed that you can relatively easily build (and enjoy!) the wealth management business of your dreams? Where and with whom do you best fit in and naturally shine most brightly?
Use this four-step method to find your natural niche:
- Identify several concentrations of financial needs in your geographic area. There are concentrations of financial need everywhere, so begin by opening your eyes, ears, and mind to what’s around you. For example, if you live in Perth, you may consider mining executives; if you live in Cairns, you may consider sugar cane plantation owners.
- Identify a few potential niche markets where you can add significant value and are likely to enjoy working with clients. Far too many advisers tell us they simply don’t enjoy their work. By identifying people for whom you can solve complex problems, and enrich their lives, your job satisfaction will increase dramatically.
- Interview centres of influence (COIs) — movers and shakers in the niche — to identify significant potential opportunities. COIs are highly visible people either in, or professionally related to, the niche. Look for professional organisations, business advisers, and those in the niche who simply stand out in terms of success and visibility. By interviewing COIs, you can determine whether you are correct in your assumptions and estimations of the viability of the niche. Check whether your initial understanding of the niche matches up to reality. COI interviews are also critical for more clearly defining your niche, the secret of which is narrow and deep.
- Analyse your opportunities, choose a single primary niche, and make it yours! Evaluate all of the information you’ve come up with, and then determine the first niche suitable for you to commit to (one that is financially abundant, and has people you’ll enjoy working with who will benefit greatly from your expertise). Decide whether you are willing to make that commitment – i.e. assuming you’re targeting the right niche, are you willing to consistently do what it takes to transform your practice into the business you’ve always wanted?
Give it a go
Advisers fail to establish successful niche businesses for a variety of reasons. In some cases, the fatal flaw is an unwillingness to do the necessary work, or to make the necessary leap of faith. For example, many advisers are reluctant to pick up the phone and arrange the COI interviews needed to effectively research the potential niches. Avoiding COI interviews is a guaranteed path to failure. Yes, it may take you a little out of your comfort zone to call up the chancellor of the local university or the head of the chamber of commerce, but in our experience the vast majority of those who are approached as being knowledgeable and important in a niche are delighted to share their knowledge, wisdom, and perspectives. While a few advisers “fall into” superb niches by accident, it generally takes a lot of hard work to “make it so!”
It helps to draw up a pull marketing plan and apply the necessary discipline to execute that plan. If you don’t, ordinary life and business concerns will inevitably distract you. If it turns out that your chosen niche wasn’t robust enough to build the business of your dreams, then develop a second niche or start again. As Mike Ditka once said, “Success isn’t permanent, and failure isn’t fatal.” So give it a go, make it so.