Does the idea of niching scare you?

“Our vision is to build a successful long term partnership with you to assist you in reaching yourfinancial and lifestyle goal”

“Financial and insurance services for ambitious, high value individuals and their families”

“Whether you are a first home buyer, looking to re-finance, are interested in investment property, or financing a business; the XXX team have the knowledge, skills and connections to help you achieve your financial goals.”

“Xxx is able to assist with a complete range of home loan products. Regardless of whether you are a first home buyer, subsequent buyer, property investor, or if you are refinancing your existing loans, we can advise on the home loan product which will best suit your needs.”

Have you ever taken the time to compare what you are saying on your website with what is being said on other advisers’ sites? If you do, you’ll likely find that anyone stumbling across your website from a search (assuming, of course, the search engine brings up your site in the first page) will see something pretty generic; you offer great service to everyone, you use your knowledge and skill to tailor insurance or a mortgage to suit their needs, you help to smooth the claims process, you negotiate rates on your clients behalf….blah! blah! blah!……..it seems that every [mortgage, financial, insurance….choose one] adviser is offering pretty much the same thing….put yourself in the shoes of a client looking for an insurance adviser or mortgage adviser; why should they use you?

In this first of a series of three articles on niching your practice, we will be taking a look at  standing out from the crowd in a space in which value is hard to define. Our goal is to get you to take a good look at where you are currently positioned and explore whether narrowing your focus could accelerate achievement of your business goals.

The [unfounded!!] fear of narrowing your focus

Most advisers in NZ are general practitioners; they have a pretty homogenous service proposition, serving anyone and everyone who wants to buy the ‘quality’ product or service they offer. They are like the proverbial tradesman with a hammer for which the solution to every problem is a nail. There seems to be an inherent fear that limiting their service to a particular niche will result is a significant downsizing of their business. This is exacerbated by a sense that New Zealand is too small for someone to specialise!!!

We would argue that this thinking is flawed for two reasons; 1. By targeting everyone, you appeal to no-one, and 2. By narrowing your market you raise the attention of everyone in that market.

We recently came across an excellent example of how this works from one of our ‘go-to gurus’ in the advice sector; Michael Kitces. In a recent Periscope video, Michael explains that he was invited to participate on a panel. The audience was a group of affluent individuals of varying ages and the topic was estate and retirement planning. There were three advisers who had been invited to speak (including Michael) and at the beginning they are asked to explain what they do….the first two panellists provided standard responses when advisers are faced with this question. Michael then talked about how his firm specialised in helping people entering retirement and talked about some of the challenges faced by those type of people. This effectively limited the audience to those in their late 50s/early 60s (perhaps 20% of the audience) – yet afterwards, Michael was the only one on the panel who was asked to get in touch by a number of the audience. The periscope video is here.

It’s worth taking a quick look at what happened here with Michael’s approach versus those of his counterparts on the panel and tease out why his narrowing of the audience resulted in much greater interest in his services. We think there are two things at play;

  1. Michael talked about specific issues faced by most people about to retire and to which his target audience could directly relate, and
  2. He also talked about how his services can help to address those specific issues/challenges. His pitch suggested he had solutions.

Michael was speaking directly to his intended audience. Contrast that with the approach of his panel members who talked about their services, skills and experience without any reference to the problems/issues faced by the audience; it’s not personal, it doesn’t relate directly unless they know they need investment advice or a financial planner for whatever challenge they are facing. And even then, unless the message has direct personal relevance it’s unlikely to be heard.

Niching a business isn’t for everyone but in a space like financial advice where it’s really difficult to articulate a value proposition outside of product implementation and prospective clients typically don’t really understand your value until they experience it, we would argue that its probably one of the best ways to connect with your audience – you can talk specifically about their situation and how your services can help.

In our next article, we’ll take a look at some of the benefits of niching and in our third article, we’ll look at a step by step approach to building a niche for your advice practice.

Would you like to learn more about niching your practice?

If you’re looking to develop a specialist niche for your practice, you may like to join our pilot programme for building a niche practice. Over a series of three 100 day programmes, Jen and David will lead you through a stepped process designed to help you identify your specialisation, establish your unique service proposition for that niche, design and build you service model and develop a marketing, education and promotion programme designed to establish you and your practice as advice experts in your target market. If you’d like to know more, join us for a webinar on 28th May where we talk about how niching your practice can  substantially improve business outcomes by;

  1. delivering significantly better ROI on marketing and communications
  2. Reduce the time you waste on lead generation and follow up
  3. Becoming referable without having to ask
  4. Providing a true differentiation for your practice
  5. Enhancing the value your provide for your niche clients.
Register NOW!!
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