How to Choose Your Specialty as a Financial Advisor
The financial services market is becoming more complex and more complex every day. Everybody needs a focus. And those with focused practices are better able to serve their clients. None of us can be all things to all people so it’s important to specialize in the kind of advice you give.
But do you know how to choose your specialty as a Financial Advisor?
There are two key considerations – both equally important: Your market, and your passions.
#1. Consider your market when choosing a specialty
The first thing to look at is the market in your town, city or niche. After all, there’s no point in specializing in advising horse buggy whip manufacturers if there aren’t any horse buggy whip manufacturers willing to take your call.
Here’s an important exercise for any advisor just starting out: Off the top of your head, write out the names of 200 people who would be willing to take your call, specifically to talk about their finances. These are people who already know you and trust you – and would presumably be willing to refer you to other people they know who might need a financial professional like you.
Are there any common threads? Are most of them around any particular age? Are they professionals? Doctors? Business owners? Engineers? Government employees? Veterans? Teachers? Are most of them pre-retirees? Or younger people with children at home?
Try to identify any commonalities you can. Chances are you’ll identify multiple threads – and that’s ok, too.
Try to create a few personas. That is, create a composite sketch of a few typical people from your list of warm contacts.
Here’s an example:
Business Owner Barry
- 32-45 years old
- 1-3 children, usually living at home
- Owns a small contracting, retail or service industry business
- Chief concerns:
- Small business retirement plans
- Benefits for employees
- Asset protection/risk management
Write out the central concerns each of your typical contacts would be most concerned about, or needs the most help with.
Note: These might not be your ideal client. But these are the ones you can actually contact, and get an appointment with. As General George S. Patton said, “The best is the mortal enemy of the good enough.” Contacting a good lead who needs your services whom you can contact and make a client now is better for new advisors than marketing to a perfect client who may not even agree to do a fact finder for six months.
Once you get established, you can, and should, get choosier about who you work with. But if you’re new and still working on establishing your niche, focus on the people actually in your life right now.
If you’re any good, believe me – they need your help.
#2. Consider your passion when choosing a specialty
What are you passionate about? What attracted you to this business in the first place? What is it that’s going to put a spring in your step when you walk into and out of the office every day? More importantly, what is going to keep you motivated, making calls and doing the hard scut work when things aren’t going well?
It’s your natural market that’s going to help you survive. But it’s your passion that’s going to help you thrive.
Here’s an example: Carrie, a wealth manager and estate planner in Jonesboro, Arkansas, had a childhood friend whose mother died when she was young – leaving a substantial fortune to her husband. Her husband fell in love and remarried another woman who had children from a previous marriage. Her father passed away in an accident a few years later… and left everything to his 2nd wife – who in turn left everything to her own children.
Because of poor estate planning, Carrie’s friend got nothing. She was accidentally totally disinherited by her parents – at an age when she and her siblings desperately needed that money.
That story not only keeps Carrie motivated to come to work every day – it’s also an effective real-world story she can tell her prospects. Nobody wants to accidentally disinherit their children. Carrie’s sincerity in retelling this story is obvious. And many prospects have become clients on the basis of this and other similar stories.
Of course, it’s up to you to develop the expertise, product mix and soft skills that allow you to truly add value for the market you choose to target. This is what’s going to keep you ahead of the competition – and enable you to craft a compelling value proposition specific to your market.
This is an ongoing process, of course. As your practice evolves, you’ll surely develop new contacts, and develop new expertise. You may even discover new passions you didn’t even know you had.
The good news: Advisors have more choices than ever about what niches they want to serve. Today’s social media revolution makes it cost-effective to market to prospects nationwide in niches and specialties that would have been nearly unthinkable just 15 years ago.
And it’s going to get better!
Watch this 2-minute video to learn how Don Connelly 24/7 will help you take your business to the next level in today’s commoditized securities business.
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