A Pathway to Excellence
Curtis and Rob masterfully lay out an easy approach to improving team performance. The book is complemented with real world examples. The team challenges at the end of each chapter compel the reader to act.
By Curtis Brown
Focus your prospecting efforts on specific niche markets to acquire more clients.
Do you want to master 20 different markets or just a few? You can’t be an expert in everything nor can you be all things to all people. You may have started in the business accepting any client that was living, breathing, and had a pulse. Sound familiar? Many of us started that way. Over time, the business began to
control us rather than the other way around. Perhaps you have fallen into the trap of being a jack of all trades and a master of none. Maybe you haven’t really thought much about the value of establishing a specific niche market or a means to differentiate yourself. It’s not enough to have impeccable product knowledge or excellent relationship skills in today’s competitive environment. You need to have intimate knowledge of the client segments you are going after. Having an area of specialization might be a means to differentiate yourself from everyone else and demonstrate your unique value. We live in a world of mass commoditization of products and services. It’s hard to stand out from the crowd. It requires a change in how we go after and establish new markets and acquire new clients.
What’s a Niche Market?
A niche market is defined as concentrating your marketing efforts on the specific needs of a segment or subset of the population. The needs of this segment are either not being met or are being poorly met by other service providers. This is where your background and experience can add value. It’s not enough to just focus on CPAs, Attorneys, or Business Owners, for example. You must drill down on specific subsets in these categories. Some advisors make the decision to focus on a company by getting familiar with the Human Resources department. They then get an understanding of the benefits offered to employees, stock plans, stock options, 401k’s, and deferred compensation plans. They read trade journals, research reports and position themselves as experts on the companies benefits. You must spend time educating yourself on employee or executive needs and have a clear understanding of their business. This will enable you to add value beyond the recommendation of a product or service.
How to Identify Pain Points?
What are the pain points of a business owner, for example? You must be prepared to ask some fundamental questions. How is the cash-flow currently being managed? Is there some seasonality to the business when cash-flow is strongest? Are there retention strategies to keep key employees? I’m sure you can identify more questions to ask and then think about the potential solutions in your repertoire of services. By asking the appropriate questions you are beginning to understand the “pain points” of the business. “Pain Points” are areas that frustrate the client or buyer. Your goal is to eliminate the pain. Recall the feeling after leaving a prospect meeting and you didn’t quite connect on an emotional level. Perhaps you didn’t uncover any significant pain points during your discussion. By establishing yourself as a solutions provider you will gain the confidence of those in your niche and obtain quality referrals.
Become an Expert in a Niche
How do you move beyond a superficial understanding of your niche market to more of an expert? You must invest the time by interviewing people that work in or serve these niche markets. You must read industry trade journals and publications. Attendance at industry-specific conferences will enable you to keep current with what’s being discussed in your niche market as well as meet important connections. Immerse yourself and get educated on the markets you decide to pursue. Some sample journals that are industry specific are Tech Crunch for technology-related businesses and Business Management Daily that discusses issues relating to the small business owner. Additionally, review the attached web publication to see a list of journals under each market niche. ((https://www.webwire.com/IndustryList.asp)
For those of you interested in pursuing the non-profit sector, here’s a list of trade journals you might find useful. (https://www.nonprofitexpert.com/publications/)
Develop Your Centers of Influence
Once you have reached a so-called expert or very knowledgeable status in terms of your level of understanding of this niche, you can now focus on developing centers of influence that can support your efforts in cultivating your market. A center of influence moves in the prospect or client circles you are going after. They can make valuable personal introductions to the prospects you want to meet. We all need allies of support. Staying current and up to date on your market(s) can eventually provide huge rewards.
Specialize in a Specific Niche Market
I work with a Financial Advisor in the southwest who specializes in pensions and retirement plan services for businesses. The team receives referrals from CPAs, attorneys, and pension consultants. They have defined their expertise and value proposition as “providing strategic wellness solutions for their clients”. Other members of the team are developing an expertise in the philanthropic services area. The team subscribes to several online trade journals and stays close to the heartbeat of change and industry challenges in their niche markets. The results have been phenomenal with new assets, clients, and referrals.
Do Your Homework
To develop your niche market, do your homework and get immersed in the needs of your market. Review trade journals and publications that are specific to your niche. Identify and review blogs and vlogs. Conduct a Google search and undercover useful market intelligence that will help you expand your brand identity and engagement in these markets. Brainstorm with a client or center of influence. Be conversant on issues that the prospect in this niche might find helpful, such as social media marketing, business strategy, and human resources. These are areas that you can opine on that add value. Find the “pain points” and you will be on your way to more success in your client acquisition efforts.