Creating or Expanding a Niche Market
Your key to unlocking lucrative new business may lie in your existing book.
- Determine possible centers of influence within your current clientele.
- Define the three to five core markets you cultivated.
- Utilize your existing clientele for insight and guidance on expanding your niche markets.
- Evaluate your clientele for possible centers of influence.
One day I was analyzing my practice and noticed that I was beginning to build a fairly significant presence in the local medical community, among doctors generally, and surgeons specifically. I then asked what turned out to be two very important questions about my practice: what is it about the medical profession in general and surgeons in particular that is so attractive to me, and how can I more effectively grow my practice within this particular niche market? The result of this thought process resulted in the following script, which I tried out on a physician who was not only a good client but a great friend. I scheduled a lunch meeting the following week under the premise of wanting to pick his brain regarding the direction I wanted to take my practice. We met for lunch the following week and after a few pleasantries I said the following …
Practice this script to help start conversations that can lead to niche business opportunities.
“Hey Bill, as I said on the phone, I stumbled upon something as I was analyzing my practice which I need your insight on. I really appreciate your taking the time to allow me to pick your brain. I noticed that over 30% of my clientele are physicians, with a fairly large percentage being surgeons. I knew I worked with a number of doctors but this number surprised me. As I thought about why this was occurring I came up with a couple of interesting insights. I think the first catalyst was my mom, who like many mothers hoped her little boy would grow up one day to be a doctor. To plant that seed she bought me a book entitled, The Making of the Surgeon. (At this point Bill stopped me and said that was his favorite book about his profession and that he too had read it as a young boy, about a young doctor going through his internship and residency at the famed Bellevue Hospital in New York. He said, “Dr. Nolan’s journey was so captivating that I decided that I too would become a surgeon.”)
“I later ran up against my lack of affinity for math and science … but as you know Bill, I never lost my fascination with and respect for your profession. My second discovery was how much I enjoyed working with surgeons temperamentally. I have discovered over the years I work best with individuals who are extremely decisive. People who continually vacillate and equivocate drive me to distraction. Surgeons are temperamentally wired to make tough decisions, with the best information available, and continually move forward toward the best result. Being wired that way myself makes us a great fit.
“So with my affinity for both the profession and the practitioner, I decided that I wanted to consciously grow my practice much more in this arena. And, as I thought about the best way to do that, I realized something: I could never know as much about your profession as you do, Bill. So here’s my question. If you were me—and you know me and my business model as well as anyone—how would you more consciously and systematically attract more surgeons into your practice? What would you do?”
At this point … say nothing … and let your client talk.
And here’s how the story ended. My client thought for a moment, smiled and said, “Well, the first thing I would do is take me to lunch on Wednesdays.” I responded somewhat quizzically, “You know I always enjoy lunch with you Bill … but why?” He said, "Well, every Wednesday a number of my colleagues and I meet for lunch down here. On any given week there could be anywhere from five to 15 of us sitting around just shooting the breeze, telling war stories, complaining about the bureaucracy … basically we’ve become an informal support group.
“These are exactly the kind of men and women who fit your profile. So here’s what we should do: the next Wednesday you find yourself in the neighborhood, give me a heads up and you can join us for lunch. I’ll simply tell everyone that I was meeting with my financial advisor and asked you to join us for lunch. The rest is up to you.” I of course said, “How does next Wednesday look?” He laughed and said that would be great. It went off just as anticipated. He introduced me and because I was the new kid on the block, I was both the center of attention and conversation. At the conclusion of the first lunch, I was not only invited back, “any time you’re in the neighborhood,” but to stop by to chat with a couple of the surgeons at the table on my next visit.
The bottom line is I never would have considered this approach without the direct insight and guidance of my client.
Reaching out to the type of client you like working with most can open doors with that client’s professional peers.
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Why This Matters
Virtually every seasoned financial advisor has somewhere between three to five key niche markets that they developed, oftentimes unconsciously. This referral request gives you a wonderful technique to begin to expand within those markets both consciously and proactively while discovering the underlying reasons that you developed these markets in the first place.
See the CEO Advisor Institute Compelling Conversations Guidebook here.
The opinions expressed are those of the author, are based on current market conditions and are subject to change without notice. These opinions may differ from those of other Invesco investment professionals.
The information is intended for US Institutional Investors.