Five Tested and True Steps to a Thriving Financial Advisory Practice—Part 3

Get the inside Scoop on Your Tribe

Give yourself an unfair competitive advantage.

After you select your niche (also called target market) you’re now able to zero in and focus on exactly what your offers should be, what would appeal to the kind of investors you want to be part of your practice.

You will have a big advantage over most of your competitors because most simply guess or copy other advisors. You, on the other hand, will know because you will research your market and get the answers you need.

You now can learn:

  • Exactly what your prospects really want—not what you imagine they want and not what your competitors claim your prospects want. (Do not copy your competitors. They may be dead wrong.)
  • What words your prospects actually use, how to language your offers in their language to make your messages compelling.
  • Their fears, concerns and worries. You can offer to allay them.

How do you find this valuable information? Simple. You ask. Interview people in your niche and centers of influence who serve them.

You want to interview them personally. Do not delegate this vital process. Do not use e-mail or letters. Interview them either in person or by telephone. Telephone is most efficient and will give you the answers you need.

Craft a dozen or so questions that will tell you their goals and dreams.Look for what’s not working for them or most challenging. Find out their pain points. Find out what they most want and what obstacles stand in their way. You want questions that will tell you what they really want in their own words.

You also want to find out if you’re target market is really wealthy or just affluent. Affluent people are those who use conspicuous consumption. They look rich. They have all the trappings. But they do not have investable wealth. Wealthy people have money to invest and usually live modestly.

When you do your interviews, you want to learn from them, NOT to sell your services. Be curious and genuinely interested in them.

Do not paraphrase. Gather their actual words and phrases. Use them in your marketing messages, value statements, and taglines. Use their words in your advertising and promotions, your website blog, and white papers.

These interviews will ignite ideas for new services and products.

When you call, you can explain that you’re not selling, but doing research so you can provide better service to people like them.

Start with your current clients who are in your niche. At the end of each interview ask them who else they suggest you interview. Interview them. Then move on to finding complete strangers who fit your niche parameters. Use lists from organizations and clubs your target market belongs to. They should be easy to find. Remember in step 2, one of the criteria of a viable niche is that they’re easy to find. They also should be willing to talk to you.

Some niches are easy to find but hard to connect with. Physicians are an example. Most of them are too engrossed in their practice and strapped for time. One advisor found a way around that. He became a lecturer at a hospital that offered a course in personal finances for its staff. He was creative enough to weave his marketing questions into his course. The physicians responded very positively to his concerns about their needs.

If you find members of your niche won’t talk to you and you don’t have an easy solution, abandon this group. Start over with your second choice.

You have a viable niche when you’re able to easily gather information from a dozen or so wealthy strangers in your target market.

Your next step is to ask three to five centers of influence, who are active in this niche, similar questions.

You will derive several valuable benefits from your interviews in addition to knowing exactly how to market to them. You’ll discover opportunities for your services. Look for money in motion and pools of capital. Look for sales of houses, investments, real estate, stocks, a yacht for private plane.

You may even pick up a new client during your interviews. Be very careful not to sell during these interviews. If they show genuine interest in working with you, arrange a future appointment.

Understanding your prospects’ wants, dreams and motivations makes your marketing much easier and effective. Your practice will grow faster with less work. Specializing in profitable niches is an important step in achieving a highly profitable practice.

Next week I’ll describe Step 4 of the Five Tested and True Steps to a Thriving Financial Advisory Practice.

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