I get a lot of emails looking for advice by virtue of maintaining this blog. Usually I reply in private – but thought I’d share this one for all readers.
I’ve removed the senders name to protect privacy. Here goes their email to me, and my reply back:
I really appreciate the feedback thank you. How does a new advisor go about finding their place and standing out? I am not sure what my niche should be yet or my defined target market. I am still learning a lot about the business. I have had success with professionals that have switched jobs a few times and have several stranded 401(k)s, etc. that need help getting their financial house in order. Is this something I could develop a niche from or is that too broad? I get that the best have a very defined niche that they are a master at and that is what I want to be. Maybe I need more experience to figure this out? What do I need to do to get on the path to find my niche and target market? Thank you for your time. I have learned a lot from your videos and blog.
There’s no right or wrong way to find your place. That’s where science and intuition seem to diverge.
My take is to think about what your ideal life looks like. Where do you live, what do you do in the AM, lunch, PM, etc. Do you travel? How often, to where, with whom? Are you charitably inclined? What really drives happiness in your life?
Sort of cheesy – but helps you figure out what kind of business you need to build to support that lifestyle. Once you know how much you are willing to work, who you’ll get the most satisfaction helping, and how much money you’ll need to make – you need to quantify if that’s possible. In other words: how many people can you really serve, how much are each of those clients worth, and do the two allow you to live your ideal lifestyle while still providing massive value to your clients.
If that all checks out then you know your target market. For some it’s helping widows whose spouse passes early. Others pro athletes, others young professionals that recently changed jobs and have an old 401k that needs to be managed. Some it’s college planning, others executive life insurance/risk management – the list goes on and on. Sometimes you can have 2 or 3 fairly aligned target markets that you “specialize” in.
I think someone who does a good job of this is Michael Zhuang (http://investment-fiduciary.com/). He clearly knows who he works with, what value he provides, and why his market should choose him above others. Might be some good inspiration for you to find your way a bit.
After you know who that market is you need to figure out the best ways to reach them. The ways are endless – you just need to commit and execute. For Michael it’s by positioning himself as an expert in his marketplace via blogging, article writing, community involvement, and social media (for referrals). I know other advisors that use seminars, some that use cold calling, some that use center of influence marketing, etc.
What you mention – about helping busy professionals keep their financial house in order – is definitely something that could be branded around. Plus since those people are in constant motion there are a lot of opportunities if done right for referrals/introductions to people in similar situations.
Keep plugging and best of luck.