By MICHAEL MORROW
One of the greatest challenges advisors face is knowing how to manage our workload. It’s tempting to accept every opportunity, but trying to do too much can lead to disorganization, missed opportunities to build relationships, and even worse, a potential loss of clients.
Finding a market niche, either by personal passion or an underserviced area of the market, can help you hone in and manage your workload to better serve your clients and therefore find greater success. Specializing in a distinct product, occupation or geographic location, for example, allows you to focus on the common pain points within that distinct group, maximizing the advantages you bring to your business and clients.
Determining Your Niche
One way to find your niche is through examining your current business. We may feel like generalists when we are selling many products to many markets, but most of us have a few products, services or markets that make up the bulk of our business. Pinpointing these areas you’re naturally focusing on will help you narrow your offering to a sector you’re already well-versed in and skilled at.
In my personal discovery, I found that most of my clients work for the same company and are approaching retirement at the same time. Recognizing my concentration on retirement planning for this sub-sect of employees allows me to hone in my knowledge to thoroughly understand their pension plans and employee benefits, in addition to any unique challenges they may face. This equipped me to better serve these clients by trusting my expertise is tailored to their needs, and suddenly, my work became easier to manage.
Specialize And Optimize
A good advisor will foster strong relationships while working as efficiently as possible. Working within a niche enables you to work smarter, not harder, and systemize paperwork and presentations that would otherwise take up valuable time. You also become an expert in a smaller area of knowledge, rather than attempting to know a little about a broad range of topics, which builds your name recognition as a specialist and increases your value to potential clients in that sector.
Clients with niche advisors tend to feel more confident working with an expert. An extra value add that clients get is tangible examples of how certain retirement plans played out, giving them a greater sense of comfort in their decisions. This peace of mind, coupled with great financial results, is the ultimate service you can provide to clients.
Your connections are the core of your practice as an advisor, the most important being those who generate new business. Advocates are irreplaceable, singing your praises to potential clients and bolstering your credibility, reducing your time spent attracting prospects. Our businesses are dependent on graduating clients to advocates, and concentrating on a niche can simplify this process. My work with one company produces referrals, as my familiarity with clients’ retirement plans leads to increased satisfaction they’ll share with coworkers who then become my prospects.
Build Your Brand
One of the best parts about honing in your niche is being able to focus your marketing efforts towards that singular audience. A simple but effective marketing tactic is to build social media profiles on sites like LinkedIn and Facebook, where you can highlight your skills and give your advocates an opportunity to promote you. Consider starting a blog to share advice on some topics that apply to your client’s needs, demonstrating your capabilities in an easily digestible format. You can get a broader awareness and spark conversations by sharing these posts on your social media profiles.
While cultivating client relationships is key, it’s also important to continue growing and maintaining your professional network. Trade associations such as MDRT provide great opportunities to learn from your peers and gain new perspectives or best practices. Forging connections with other advisors can be valuable referrals.
Choosing a niche can seem overwhelming, but taking the time to reflect on your current business and personal passions will make it easier to decide what area suits you best. The discovery process may take a bit of trial and error to find the niche that fits, but you will find success as long as you continue to value the relationships you build and play to your strengths.
Mike Morrow, CFP, and President of Morrow Financial, has over thirty years’ experience in financial services. He is a Life Member of MDRT, and has been a member for 12 years. Mike has authored several books to help other advisors, including The Loyalty Edge. He resides in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada, with his wife and children, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article is based off a member presentation at MDRT’s 2019 Annual Meeting. MDRT members can find the full script within the MDRT Resource Zone. To see more presentations like the one that inspired this article, MDRT members can register for the MDRT Global Conference in Sydney, Australia, taking place September 1-4.