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The goal of this article is to provide you with enough of the benefits of niching and to kick your main concern, “but I’ll lose clients” or “I won’t get enough clients” to the curb.

There is one skill that creates clarity around financial freedom. You know it —  because you do it — planning. Planning for your own business growth is as important as you sitting down with clients to create their financial plan. In fact your business planning process should come first and will help you when you work with clients.

When you do your own planning — life planning, business planning, etc — you’ll have a deeper understanding of all that goes into the planning process — including all the emotions involved.

You’d think that advisors and planners wouldn’t need to be told that; but it’s the case of the shoemaker whose children have shoes with holes in them. Same thing happens within the marketing, coaching, and other service professions.   Most often coaches don’t hire coaches — and they should!  It’s difficult to see what’s missing, and even what should get a hurrah — when you’re looking at your own stuff.

You may be in the ranks of advisor-owners who are sworn enemies of business planning.  If that’s because you think a 40-page report is needed for funding, then think again.  When done right, on a few pages, in a way that you can quickly update it and always monitor it, it will save you thousands of dollars and time! To learn more about a planning process that helps you create a plan in 2 hours, go to

Tell Me About Your Ideal Client

It’s a question I’m sure more than a few people have asked you. I even ask advisors who request a complimentary getting to know you session the same question. But in 16 years, not one FA has ever had a real answer to my question “tell me about your ideal client” — NOT ONE!

Creating a niche is best practice. It is one of the fundamental systems of a new and growing practice.

An FA who worked with any educator wasn’t earning enough. He wanted some other suggestions. We came up with professors or teachers 10 years from retirement, etc.

The FA who worked with “mostly” business owners wouldn’t remove the word “mostly” from his conversations. The FA who worked with “women” wouldn’t narrow it down to busy professionals, ages 20-30, or some other specialty.

I couldn’t take these folks on as clients, because they were not at this time, my ideal clients!  They wouldn’t even try on a change for a few days or weeks to see how it goes!

Niches are very important.   So much so that in the first module of my Advisor CEO series is … you guessed it … niching. And the second module is on creating a One Page Business (& Marketing) Plan® whose vision includes your niche and ideal client profile information.

Don’t feel bad if you don’t have a niche, there is hope and time to create one. If it makes you feel better, years ago I went to an American Marketing Association Meeting and met a marketing consultant who “worked who needs marketing”, too.

Bottom Line

If you want to get to the next level, you must be willing to do things differently!

If you’re working all hours of the night… through your weekends… with little rest or down time. If you’ve hired your spouse so you can see them more often. If you’re frustrated by all you do to make just a little money. If you’re pushing and running your business like you’re cramming for exams. OR if you’re thinking of being a top advisor, then you need to do what you tell your clients to do. Step up and stop running your business flying by the “seat of your pants.”

Passion and hard work aren’t enough to get you to the next level. I bet you see people who are working a lot less than you but are making a lot more money. How are they doing that? They have clear goals and a roadmap to success. That roadmap is part of their planning process. And niching is part of the planning process.

“Planning is something you can count on, all the way to the bank” — Maria

You need a niche. After you create one, you need an ideal client profile. If you don’t believe me, try it on for size for 6 months or so and see how your business develops!

Michael had a table at a conference within his niche. He had a table years before and this was going to be his last year because it seemed like a waste of money. Within his niche, he created an ideal client profile and a few other systems along the same line.

Michael called me after the event. “I ONLY got 50 cards. I used to get a few hundred and it was so overwhelming to contact them all. Out of the few hundred I got few clients. But these 50 people I talked to longer than usual because they were my ideals; we connected and I know that’s going to make a bigger difference.”

Michael went on to tell me that he did talk to the same number of people as usual, but he politely cut many of the conversations short when he realized that the person(s) in front of him were “tire kickers”.

What are some of the benefits of creating an ideal client profile? They all have to do with earning more, less stress, and working fewer hours.

#1 More Connections: Meet a stranger and all they care about is WII-FM (what’s in it for me). People also want to feel that they are special. They “get” this when they are in your niche. It’s easier to turn strangers into prospects when they connect with you and your firm.

#2 More Known: People do business with people they know, like, and trust. You’ll build deeper relationships (i.e. connect more deeply) with people you are really passionate about working with AND who you share passions with.

#3 Easily market: You can easily find strategic partners who have your same niche. Then you can do things together — write articles, conduct seminars, refer out, etc. — even write a book together!

#4 Work Less: You do less work. I used to work with a very wide niche (women in service businesses). I spoke at association meetings of many chapters and conferences. I had more than 8 different versions of my niching program, based on the audience I was going to be in front of. I wrote articles for magazines in more than 40 different industries. CRAZY was I!

#5 Get Called: Because I ONLY market to FAs, I get calls from reporters, magazines, etc. in the industry.

#6 Get Called 2: When you’re looked upon as an expert in one area, you’re looked upon as an expert and other prospects will come to you for resources and referrals. Then it’s your choice to take them on as a client — or not.

#7 Get Called: CLIENTS WILL COME TO YOU! When you’re an expert in an area, and you chose that area wisely (which means you have a niche, ideal client profile, segmented market and you monitor the work you’re doing) you’ll eventually do less marketing. People will more easily find you online. People will remember you better and refer you.

#8 Better Referrals: Your clients will be able to refer you more easily — without you asking. From the marketing you do to them, they’ll clearly “get” who you work with and how you help them.

#9 Better Referrals 2: How will I know that’s a good client for you? That’s a question you may get asked at networking groups. When you have an ideal client profile in your head, it will be easy to answer that question with 3 different things they’ll say. When you get to know someone you can also add “do you know “someone” like that or someone who has said that recently to you”.

#10 More Efficiency: Instead of creating 1 blog for your “ideals”, you’re talking about creating more than one. Or if you write an article, you may need to change it, like people do for resumes, for a different audience.

#11 More Efficiency: You’ll be able to create special programs for your niche, based on your expertise.

#12 More Efficiency: You’ll have one “area” to get engrossed in and read all about, giving you more time to work with people on their financials and investments.

#13 Create a win-win when you leverage marketing, social media and your personal connections more easily.

More to come as I remember it all!

(c)2013 Maria Marsala