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When I speak on stage or meet advisors “around town” and we talk niches, they always ask: “Where is my niche from?”

First, let me tell you what a niche is.  It’s a general description of whom you work with.  And if all you do is create a general description of who you work with, that’s not enough.  In fact, it’s only one part of how to “Manage Your Niche”.   An article I published, that has received numerous mentions and retreats, listed 157+ possible niches to get the process started.

Managing Your Niche is 2-Step Process

Having worked with clients on simplifying and growing their business, niching starts by “Managing Your Niche.” It’s a 2-step process where you

  1. nail your niche and then
  2. deep dive into determining and learning everything about “who” they are as you create your ideal client profile.  Ideal client profiles are also known as client personas and archetypes.  They are a specific “picture” of whom your ideal clients are within your chosen niche.

Niche, Segment, THEN Market

You take the 2-step process before you create your firm’s outer brand (like logo, website) and before you start marketing.   Otherwise, you’ll attract clients “who breathe and have a paycheck,” which will come back to haunt you in the future.

You want to market directly (target market) to your niche and ideal client.  You “target market” to attract your ideal clients, but you’ll attract others, too.  You can then decide to take those others on as clients if they come close to your ideal clients, and you can choose not to accept them as clients, or you can take them on as clients but find a firm to serve them where you both earn fees.  The choice of who becomes your clients are always left to you.

You target market to attract more ideal clients to you, but there are many other benefits as well.  Like simplifying the onboarding process, or being able to create sample portfolios which you can then customize for these clients.  And because you’re targeting your marketing, you stop wasting your money and time marketing to “anyone who breathes”.

 

You Want Better Clients

I’ve heard it often from clients.  They tell their assistant that if “Mr. or Mrs. so and so calls, tell them I’m out of the office.”

Over time, the results of Managing Your Niche is that you’ll book more ideal clients, love whom you work with, and earn more.   The fun will be back in your business and you’ll have the gift of more free time.

Most importantly, you’ll serve your clients “the right way” because the fees your AAA clients pay will stop paying for your B level clients because you’ll have fewer B clients.

Most importantly, you’ll serve your clients “the right way” because the fees your AAA clients pay will stop paying for your B level clients because you’ll have fewer B clients.

Yes, you may be one of the numerous advisors who provide similar levels of services to all clients and charge the same fee structure to them all, too.  This should NOT be happening!  Your time and services need to match what you’re getting paid by each client level.  And yes, people who tout the label of “fiduciary” are often guilty of this, too.

The truth is that if you use the AAA, AA, A, B levels of clients, the B clients always want much more handholding, “touches”, and your time than they actually pay for.   It’s up to you to lower their expectation or be ready to “let them go”.

So, What Do You Do?

When you’re “Managing Your Niche”, you can start creating your Business Snapshot (others call it an elevator speech) and even start your value proposition.  It will look like:

“I work with (___general niche then a little about your ideal clients__) who (__has this problem that I have the solution to__).”

It’s niche + ideal client profile + problem/solution.  Here’s an example of a Business Snapshot that I use:

I work with successful independent financial advisors who are tired of working 80 hour weeks and annoyed that they aren’t able to earn more money, although they’ve tried.  I help them simplify their business systems, advise more, and live better. My name is Maria and I’m a Global Business Coach.   (Read more about the basic traits of your ideal clients here).

Of course, there is more to niching than 1 or 2 sentences.  But when someone asks you, “So, whom do you work with?” they should get a very clear “picture” of whom you work.  You’ll be rememberable.  And when you hire a marketer, and they ask the same question, they should “get it” quickly, too.

 

Old School vs. New School Niching

Old school niching is out.  It was about:

  • Selling and hunting down a new client (note: sales is part of the on-boarding process, but it is not hard selling nor hunting clients),
  • 1 or 2 advisors per service type in a community or town,
  • Clients come to you for a specific product,
  • 1 day to 2 months maximum between meeting a stranger and on-boarding a new client,
  • Niche based on product
  • Marketing in person and with much paper.  Cold calling, brochures, fishbowls inviting everyone to dinner, marketing done with lots of paper.

 

21 Century niching is in.  It is about:

  • Connecting with and attracting strangers whom you, your marketing, and website pre-qualify as prospects,
  • Much competition in a community, town, home businesses, and even more competition on the internet,
  • Clients want your services, don’t ask for discounts, and call you for vetted recommendations,
  • 6-month average time in turning a stranger into a client, and
  • Managing Your Niche based on specifically “who” your ideal client is.
  • Having an online presence and integrating off and online marketing.
  • Small intimate meetings based on commonalities where ideal clients bring friends.

 

12 Sources of Niches

Here are the general ways my advisor clients have chosen their niche over the past 20 years.  For the most part, niches are “who” you work with, not the products you provide, as things used to be. They can be:

  1. Who you were
  2. Who you are
  3. Who you want to be
  4. Passion based
  5. Hobby based
  6. Association based. (military, organizations you belong to, etc.)
  7. Alumni based
  8. Mega-company based
  9. Individuals who work for a specific company
  10. Industry based
  11. Based on a family discomfort or situation (as in dad died young, left no will, etc.)
  12. Accidental based (you check your client base and realize that you just have a lot of these types of clients and enjoy working with them)

 

Are you ready to Manage Your Niche? Download and  Watch our video here