How do you respond when a prospect asks, “What do you do?” Some of you may simply respond by giving them your title such as “I’m a financial advisor.” Others may launch into an elevator pitch only to see the prospect start to look for a way out of the conversation.
It’s essential to see this question from the prospect’s point of view and understand what they really want to know is, “What do you do for people like me?” If your practice focuses around a certain profession or demographic, then your marketing, planning, product and referral processes must reflect that in order to answer this question. By doing so, your closing rate can increase and you will be able to speak more directly with those you like to work with. Let’s explore how you can be known for something rather than unknown for everything.
Choosing A Niche Market
You may think a niche limits you to working within a specific profession, such as doctors and dentists. But you can broaden your niche to focus on any identifiable segment of the population with similar interests that you feel connected to. It may be working with certain age groups, ethnicities, lifestyles or even recreational interests you enjoy.
To choose your niche, consider the biggest concerns of the segment you’d like to serve. For example, young families might be more concerned with protecting their income, while preretirees might be more concerned with how to create retirement income or how to transfer their business to their children. Maybe you’re focused on new graduates who are entering the workforce with large student loan debt, or on prospects who are planning to leave the workforce and need help understanding their separation options.
It’s critical to research and explore the common needs or concerns of whoever you choose to work with. A great technique is simply asking your ideal client to go for lunch to gain their insight into an article you want to write. You can also ask them the top questions they’ve always wanted to know the answers to and then create a video series of questions and answers on that topic. This is a great way for you and your centers of influence to create tailored assets that can be sent to clients and prospects.
Writing an article or creating a short video requires you to have an in-depth understanding on an issue while being able to communicate it in a concise way. Whether you share the video on your website, on social media or in an industry publication, you are building content to establish credibility within your niche. If you’d like to host an event or speak at a university, having conceptual articles and videos will demonstrate credibility and establish yourself as a must-have speaker. This creates more opportunities for you to become recognized as an expert, reaching your niche and building a pipeline through your marketing efforts.
Finding Prequalified Referrals
Referrals are the most inexpensive and effective tactic in your marketing tool chest, yet many advisors have no process for obtaining them. Worse, the referrals they receive are rarely prequalified. Leverage your niche market and make referrals easier for your clients. Narrow down their mental Rolodex of who to introduce by providing a name you’ve sourced from social media. This person should be someone they’re connected to and who is in a similar niche as your client. Ask how they know that person and how they connect socially. This will give you a much more effective and targeted means to be introduced to your prequalified prospect.
Developing A Niche COI
Professional alliances, or centers of influence, can be great resources to obtain new clients within your niche, and you should have a process for creating a healthy referral relationship. To find the right fit, ask yourself four questions.
First, do they work with clients like yours and will they introduce you in response to client concerns that fit your expertise? Second, do you like each other and can you develop trust through a social relationship? Third, would they co-present at a seminar with you, ideally bringing some of their own clients? Fourth, you’ll want to clearly set expectations that you are seeking referrals and ask them what they need from you to feel confident in doing so. If they don’t refer business to you after these steps, move on and repeat with another COI who may be a better fit.
Refine Your Processes
As you establish your niche market, be prepared to continually refine your processes. This requires time and discipline, but the rewards will lead you to achieve more success. By creating a repeatable interview, planning and recommendation process, you can anticipate areas of interest or concern with your clients. This, in turn, increases their acceptance of your advice.
Remember, clients don’t recommend a product you’ve sold them; they recommend your understanding of who they are.