What Are Your Niches?
In coaching we always ask the question, ‘what are your niches?’. An FA might say, business men or retirees. But that isn’t specific enough! A niche is a highly specialized group of people working in the same industry, career, interest or commonality.
Narrow that down even more. If you said ‘Doctors’ define what specialty, if you said CPAs, identify a firm(s) or by age, seniority or years to retire. If your niche is retired people, ask yourself ‘retired from what? ‘ One of my FAs specializes in widows of HNW individuals.
To take it a step further, there are two kinds of niches, natural niches and target niches. Natural niches are where you came from before you were an advisor. You may have started out as a CPA, insurance agent or played professional sports. That would be your natural niche. You will know your clients’ and prospects’ ‘language’ in that field and how to advise them with the uniqueness of their business. You know where to find them, how to approach them and important industry conventions they might attend. If for example, you came from Proctor and Gamble you might be targeting executives and board members or a specialty like scientists or researchers. This can really be all you need to do in your practice. You do well with that group because you came from the culture. You speak the language, you understand the people and you certainly understand the benefit. You know their benefit program as well as their HR director. You are an authority they can trust.
Target niches are those people that have something in common. They might be a yacht club, bicycling group or, as in the example above, widows. It could also be people interested in supporting a nonprofit like the opera or symphony. Always pick a target niche based on your interests. If you aren’t into sailing then the local sailing club would be a bad fit. You want to make sure that the niche you choose will generate the kind of clients that meet your minimum. If it does and you enjoy it, then that is your target group.
Usually FAs have found clients throughout their career that will fit into a niche category without even realizing it! Now is the time to understand who you have and how to duplicate those people. Be sure and take the time to understand the mechanics of any niche you choose. If you decide you want to target cardiologists interview one or two of them to understand their needs and concerns and how you can help them. You also need to know how to fit into their schedule a monthly update meeting, how they save for retirement, their investment style and all the other nuances of their business.
Once you have identified your niches you can start purposefully developing them by approaching a client that is already in the niche and ask for a few minutes of their time. You let them know you are interested in having more clients like them. Here are some sample reasons.
- I understand your industry and believe I can be of help to others like yourself
- I have decided to focus on this industry because I know a lot about it
- I want to specialize in this niche because I think my experience would be of value to others like yourself
You then say, “Does it make sense to you to add more (business owners) to my practice?” More than likely, he/she will say yes.
That is when you ask the key question: “If you were me, how would you go about adding more (business owners) to my practice?”
Then you keep quiet and listen. Let the business owner, in this case, tell you how to get in front of other business owners.
If the business owner has no ideas you say, “Thanks for thinking about it. Never forget, I am never too busy to help people like you.” The worst outcome is that you have planted the seed that you would like to have more business owners in your practice.
It also helps to become known and trusted in your community. Your reputation will grow as you infiltrate your niche and become the specialist they all want to talk to.
- Define two niches you want to specialize in that are either target or natural niches
- Look at your clients and find those that fit into one of those niches
- Become an expert in the niches you choose
- Approach your clients about getting introductions to people like them
Take a minute now to write down 2 -3 niches you identify for yourself:
Write down your natural niches:
Write down your current or potential target niches:
Now look at your current clients and see how many fit into these categories. Do you have a mishmash of clients or are you focusing on specific commonalities? Which of these niches to you want to develop more?