Your niche needs to be more than “I work with…”
If you want to attract more clients and referrals you need to tell them more than “I work with…” What will attract them is to describe how they will be different in the future because they worked with you.
People are attracted to an outcome. By getting into a relationship, they are looking to change the situation they are in or make sure a future situation comes to be. They may respond to what you do or how you do it because they believe it will bring about the scenario they hope for. They will respond less to what you do or who you do it with. They will respond more to what they anticipate will happen to them because of what they do with you – assuming the outcomes you produce for clients include the one they desire.
How you help clients change is more important than who you work with. Let’s say you desire to work with doctors. What do they want to be different? Do they want to manage their finances in less time than they spent now or in what little time they have? Do they want to know they are getting the full advantage of the special retirement tools and tax strategies that are available to doctors (or employees of their health system)? Is it to have better control over their cash flow and third-party reimbursements? Describing the results of working with you is more powerful than listing the category your clients fall into.
It might sound something like this: “I help physicians in private practice streamline reimbursement, improve cash flow, and give them more time to practice medicine rather than chasing payments.” Or, “I show new doctors at the Anytown Medical Center how to maximize their benefits plan to make sure they are making as much progress as possible on their retirement goals.” Or possibly “I offer physicians a unique set of tools to let them confirm their plans are on course whenever they want or wherever they want without having to come into the office.” Each of these communicates an outcome that a physician might find attractive. By the way, although each of these value propositions is addressed to the same target market, they reflect different niches.
General feelings of satisfaction are not as compelling. Trust, peace of mind, and other general feelings are byproducts of a successful engagement. They cannot be produced directly. If you deliver what the client expects they will trust you. If you do it consistently and if you can show them that they are on track for their goals they may achieve some peace of mind. Communicating a specific brand promise helps you assure than what you are delivering is what the client expected. Having a fuzzy brand opens the possibility that what the client anticipates is different than what you plan on delivering. More important, not having a clear brand makes it harder for your clients to refer effectively. They may say generally positive things but it may not be enough to drive their friend to your website or the telephone. Being clear on the outcome you help create can help more people get excited about it.
What kinds of outcomes can you talk about?
Providing a solution to a technical problem – Finding a way to utilize planning or tax strategies to achieve a particular goal or maximize the situation. Goals like stashing away more money into deferred accounts or reducing current tax or determining exactly how heirs get their inheritance.
Providing an experience the client prefers – What does your ideal client want from a relationship with an advisor? Good advice and getting to their goals is a given. Forget the destination for a moment and think about the journey. Would they like it to be more fun? Do they want advice that’s easier to understand? Do they want to interact with their advisor without having to come to the office or to get advice electronically? (The top five Robo-advisors have accumulated $60 billion by providing this kind of experience. While many of those clients are not in your target market, there are clearly a lot of people who are attracted to it.)
Having a language or process that caters to the unique needs of your target market – Planners who have earned their Financial TransitionistÒ designation have redesigned their processes to address the needs of clients who have recently experienced significant change: sudden wealth, widowhood, etc. Some clients need time to grieve. The Transitionist’s process provides for those non-financial needs and offers clients a more comfortable, more productive experience. Some clients understand advice better when expressed in terms they are more familiar with than the jargon advisors are used to using. Others benefit from delegating additional financial functions to the advisor – bill paying services, for example.
Helping them achieve a non-financial goal – I know several advisors who go beyond preparing for retirement and actively coach clients on how to enjoy retirement once they get there. Some have relationships with travel agencies. Others help clients manage their social calendar. Other advisors who work with families of college-bound students help their clients sort through college choices and negotiate financially as well as positioning assets to minimize the expected family contribution. They go beyond setting goals and managing assets and actively help clients produce outcomes.
When you describe the people the unique value you represent, the reason your ideal client should work with you rather than other advisors they meet, go beyond the demographics of your target market. Describe to people the future you can help them create.
To help you get started, download my free guide “10 Steps to a Killer Positioning Statement.” You can get your copy by clicking here.