Whether you're a veteran financial advisor with a long client list or a newbie looking to build your book, you might consider focusing your efforts on a particular niche. After all, people in search of a financial advisor look for someone compatible with them and alert to their objectives. If you choose your clients as carefully, you may find yourself performing at your most effective level.
You can begin by taking a close look at your current client base. It will show you how to hone in on the type of clients you want.
- Financial advisors can make a name for themselves—and a successful business—by targeting a specialized client niche.
- Networking helps you identify people whose priorities and interests match yours.
- You'll understand the goals of these prospective clients and can better help them achieve them.
Sifting for Gold
First, print out a list of your clients and grab a few highlighters of various colors. We'll use green, yellow, and pink.
Now, slowly go down the list and stop at each name. Consider what it's like to work with each person.
Let's say the first client is a couple named Jones. They are pleasant, open to new ideas, and committed to following the plan you put together. When the markets take a tumble, they shrug off market volatility as just a part of long-term investing. They put away money each month. They've even referred a few friends to you. If all of your clients were like them, life would be peachy. Highlight this one green.
Next on your list is a couple named Lee. When they call, you reach for the antacids. They complain about your fees, how the neighbor makes more on their investments than Lee does, and how the person on the radio said your recommendations stink. Do you want more like Lee? Heck no! Highlight this one pink.
A number of other clients will likely fall somewhere between the Jones and Lees. Highlight these clients yellow.
Look for Common Traits
Now revisit the clients in the green group. Look for commonalities among these clients. For instance:
- Generation X or baby boomer
- Business owner
- Family responsibilities
The possibilities are endless, and this is just the beginning. Next, you need to fine-tune your results.
Suppose that women aged 35 to 55 make up most of your green group. What do they have in common, besides gender identity? Some commonalities might be marital status, occupation, net worth, number of dependents. For example, let's say that most of your green group are single women who own their own companies.
That's a niche.
Once you've done this exercise with your green group, do the same with the yellow group. You might discover a few more clients who just need some of your time to become green clients.
The percentage of people who think financial advisors are only for rich people, according to one survey by Magnify Money.
Consider Client Concerns
Your next step will be to consider what financial concerns these clients share.
A few of them could be:
- Income volatility
- Healthcare costs
- Retirement income
To address these concerns you might offer products such as:
- Medical insurance
- Disability insurance
- Certificates of deposit (CDs)
- Traditional IRAs
- Simplified Employee Pension (SEP)
- Keogh plans
Clone Your Best Clients
Now that you know whom you enjoy working with, their common problems, and how to meet their needs, you'll want more people just like them.
One proactive approach is to find out what organizations they belong to, such as:
- Professional organizations
- Social clubs
- Charitable foundations
A good strategy is to become involved with these organizations. There are a number of ways to do this:
- Write articles for their newsletters. Most organizations have a monthly newsletter and their editors are almost always looking for interesting pieces that are relevant to their members. Be sure to include your contact number in the article and, if possible, a photo.
- Offer to speak. Program chairmen often need speakers. Let them know that you're available
Networking is a lot of work. However, you'll be meeting people who are your ideal clients.
What If I Have No Clients?
Suppose you're new to the business and have no clients at all.
No problem. You can determine your niche by using the same strategy. For example, what's your favorite hobby? Let's say you live and breathe golf and you know the golf pros at every course for miles around. These guys can pair you up for a round of golf with qualified prospects. What generally happens when you're riding around in a golf cart for three to four hours? Sooner or later the other person will ask: "What do you do for a living?"
Imagine how great it will feel like to have clients who are as passionate about the game as you are.
It won't happen overnight, but after people see you around the club, they'll feel like they know you and will be more likely to choose you when they need the help of a financial professional.
What Is a Niche Market for a Financial Advisor?
A niche market for an advisor is a group of people with shared financial priorities and personal values. To be effective, a financial advisor must understand those priorities and values and be able to translate them into a solid long-term financial plan.
What Is an Example of a Niche Market for a Professional Advisor?
Small business owners who support families. Older professionals looking forward to retirement. Young people in their first well-paid jobs. The possibilities are endless.
Financial advisors who want to establish a niche might first define their own niche in order to identify the kind of clients they wish to serve. For example, a young person just starting out as an advisor might build a client base made up of other young professionals in need of help with financial matters.
What If I Dislike My Clients?
To put it gently, if you dislike your clients they probably chose the wrong advisor. You don't share their priorities or even their interests. You need to look for new clients whose financial goals you are in sympathy with.