We’re often asked what successful advisors across Canada are doing to grow their brands and differentiate themselves in a crowded marketplace.
Our answer? Successful financial advisors are often specializing more than ever before. We’re seeing a shift from the traditional generalist approach to more modern practices where the focus is on a particular market and, within it, an even more specialized client niche.
Adopting this approach yields many benefits, such as developing deep expertise that can make you extremely valuable because so few advisors are able to provide those specialized services. Another benefit of focusing on certain types of clients is the opportunity to land yourself more referrals, as people of similar background and needs tend to interact often and share experiences – including discussion of their great financial advisor who has the rare and specific expertise they require.
We want to help you hone in on a particular niche that you’d like to serve. Client niches tend to fall into one of six broad categories: affinity, values, education, experience, psychosocial and technical. Each one of these niches involves forming a unique connection and gaining a profound understanding of your clients’ personal, professional and financial situation.
Now we’ll consider one example of a technical niche. Let’s say an advisor has developed deep expertise around helping entrepreneurial clients build and sell their businesses. Such advisors enjoy solving the intricate financial and emotional challenges that frequently emanate from business transitions. As a result, maybe they’ve established that their primary target market is business owners aged 40 to 60, and their niche is helping these individuals sell their enterprises.
So, where do you start? Here’s a basic four-step process to help you establish your own niche.
1. Determine your capabilities
Conduct an introspective exercise to discover where your expertise resides. These are the areas of your business where you feel that you deliver the highest value. This could be investment selection, budgeting, estate settlements, tax strategies or something else. Be as honest and granular as possible, as this exercise will set the foundation for your next decisions.
2. Select your target market
Establish which market you work in most frequently. Examples include millennials, entrepreneurs, female professionals, or others. Identify what you have in common with this niche market and ensure that it’s logical to select them as your target. You’ll also want to affirm that you enjoy working in this particular market, hold valuable insights into it, and intend to nurture your connection to this market even further.
3. Hone in on niche clientele
Now that you’ve identified your target market, take it a step further to define your niche. This is where you strategically link your skills and expertise with a subgroup of your target market. It’s also where your specialized capabilities align to deliver tremendous value that will distinguish you from the competition. Examples could include working with tech executives navigating IPOs, divorcees with complex planning needs, or entrepreneurs looking for help divesting their business. Figure out where your abilities shine the brightest and concentrate on an area where you see opportunity to deliver your best value.
4. Execute your strategy
Once you’ve established your niche, you’ll need the right strategy to be successful. This means adapting your services to a well-defined clientele, anticipating what key demands this niche will have, and implementing a process around each of your services. Equally important is developing a marketing strategy that attracts the right prospects within your niche, including the creation of a succinct value statement on which you can deliver time and again. Finally, when in front of clients and prospects, leverage your specialized resources and expertise to capture the opportunity, ultimately positioning your business for ongoing success in your chosen niche category.
You may already be working within a niche but haven’t yet fully defined it, or you could be starting from scratch. Regardless, use these best practices as a foundation to help ensure you have a viable strategy in place to attract, serve and grow your niche client base for years to come.
To learn more about how to hone in on your own niche in order to grow your practice more effectively, please contact your CI Sales Team.