For Financial Professionals in the US

Is Your Niche Actually Unique?

Is your niche actually unique
Feb 8, 2022
6 minute read

Distinct from niche marketing, your Unique Business Tranche (UBT) is more akin to a super-niche that narrowly defines with whom you work as well as their specific needs. Our Practice Mangement Team explains how, by going small – and then smaller – you can gain a competitive advantage within that group.

Put yourself in the shoes of your clients and consider for a moment that their expectations are being shaped by the interactions they’re having with companies that focus relentlessly on crafting an experience that is tailored to their specific needs.

Now ask yourself, does your client experience measure up? Let’s be honest, most financial professionals didn’t get into this business because they wanted to curate an exceptional client experience that tugs at their clients’ heart strings. They got into this business because they wanted to help their clients manage their financial future. But I would argue that making a shift to curating exceptional client experiences is the key to setting yourself apart from the competition and getting more satisfaction and fulfillment out of your career.

So, how do you make the shift? And is it worth it?

Based on a study conducted by McKinsey on the Asset Management industry, firms that focus on curating their client experience outperformed the sales growth of their competitors by 85% and reduced operational costs by 15-20%.

So why isn’t everyone getting on board with curating a holistic, values-based experience that creates meaningful connections with clients? In my view, it’s because a lot of financial professionals are casting far too wide of a net when it comes to building their prospective client pool. In other words, their niche is simply not exclusive enough. Enter what I refer to as your Unique Business Tranche (UBT).

Use a Microscope, Not a Yardstick

Distinct from niche marketing, your UBT is more akin to a super-niche that narrowly defines with whom you work as well as their specific needs. By going small – and then even smaller – you can gain a competitive advantage within that group.

When I say small, I mean small. “Small business owners” is not a UBT. Neither is “travel enthusiasts.” Keep zeroing in until you get to “owners of businesses with fewer than 10 employees who love to take cycling vacations.”

I understand that shrinking your potential client pool can seem counterintuitive, or even scary, which can hold you back from finding your UBT. But if you’re still laboring under the misconception that quantity is better than quality, then you haven’t discovered this essential fact: Not all clients are created equal. And to serve one group exceptionally well, you need to make the decision to exclude other groups. Focusing on clients you enjoy helping can lead to greater rewards, both personally and financially.

Tips for Purposeful Prospecting

The key to examining the current state of your business starts with segmentation. This process helps you understand the different layers and groups within your business so you can make informed decisions about where and how to spend your time and energy. Ask yourself this: When was the last time you said “no” to a prospect who wanted to join your practice? Put another way, have you ever considered that the type of clients you initially started building your business with may not necessarily be the type you want to continue growing with?

Use Your “Why” to Inform Your UBT

Gaining clarity about what matters to you is a critical step in developing your UBT. What are your own passions and interests and where do they intersect or align with those of your top clients? Do you work closely with the teachers in your community and want to help them build a better future? Are you a proud retired Marine who loves working with those still in active service? Do you have a talent for facilitating intergenerational wealth conversations within your network?

I once coached a financial professional who aspired to grow his business with clients who have experienced a tragedy or traumatic event. Why? He felt compelled to help others who had experienced something traumatic because he could identify with them: his daughter was in a plane crash and survived. Thus his “why” and his passion was to help others financially and emotionally.

Here are some other real-life examples of UBTs I have encountered:

  • Dentists coming out of dental school and starting their own practice
  • Dual-income-no-kids couples that are focused on health and wellness
  • Second-generation small business owners with 5-10 employees
  • Hikers, climbers and alpinists with Employee Stock Options
  • Single moms with an autistic child
  • Gen X social media influencers with multiple streams of passive income
  • Life coaches with revenues over $2 million

Once you have developed your (extremely specific, exclusive and narrow) UBT, the next step is to determine how you will create experiences that support the needs of those clients you’re targeting. This goes beyond your clients’ financial needs, and beyond your financial expertise. Consider every interaction your prospects and clients will have with your business: What will they see in your advertising? What will they experience when they walk into your office – what messages will the colors, surfaces and design aesthetic send? What is your onboarding process like, and how will the relationship evolve and change as they are your clients for longer periods of time?

Once you have considered each of this questions and developed a client experience model that suits the needs and preferences of your UBT, it’s time to deliver by putting the plan into action. I think it’s important to not bite off more than you can chew here. Delivering on your client experience model is a three-way balancing act that involves the following considerations:

Resources: What people do you have on your team to support you? How much time do you have to focus on client experiences in an average week or month?

Efficiency: What are some gestures or actions that are relatively easy yet still impactful? Which of these can be “automated” somehow?

Effectiveness: Which clients are getting your most valuable time and energy? Are you seeing the expected outcomes?

Remember, building habits for success often requires trying multiple different approaches to figure out what works, so don’t get discouraged if some of your initial efforts miss the mark.

The good news is, one of the advantages of developing a UBT is that you may find you’re more likely to get those client experiences right the first time. After all, assuming you’ve sufficiently narrowed your focus, you’ll be creating those experiences based on a very specific set of client interests, preferences and needs.

Rather than simply doing more of the same, your UBT will enable you to take a distinctive approach to your marketing efforts, provide more personalized service and consistently exceed expectations. All of which can ultimately lead to heightened satisfaction for both you and your clients.

Modern Prospecting

Are you ready to attract more of the clients you want?