FinancialServicesMarketin RepoRtS

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1 Resources to focus for your niche, acquire new clients and services ac Fortunately, you can reduce the effects of this new era of competition by concentrating on niche markets. VOL 6 NUM 1 Strategies and techniques for building your business by focusing,acquiring and ing Niche Marketing: 7 Ways to Expand Your Market Are you one of the many financial services firms who try to be all things to all people? Or, Are you looking for a better way to invest your time, resources and marketing dollars? Niche marketing offers a better approach for financial service firms looking for proven ways to attract new clients and increase revenues. The game is changing Marketing is the lifeblood for a successful financial services firm, but many professionals are content to focus on the technical side of the business, assuming that effective skills combined with a few satisfied clients is all you really need to have thriving business. But, that s the problem: competence is no longer enough! With over 3,000 financial services businesses in Australia, competition has greatly intensified in recent years. Industry consolidation, new foreign players, banks and insurance companies competing directly in the market have changed the playing field. Fortunately, you can reduce the effects of this new era of competition by concentrating on niche markets. Advantages of niche marketing Niche marketing permits even small players to become dominant players in their chosen markets-- even against large competitors! Research shows that brokerage firms producing the highest revenue are those with a focus strategic plan and direction. Here are seven techniques to help you to identify and exploit your niche market. Let s examine each of these techniques in greater detail: 1. Identify the rights markets Choosing an industry -market niche to concentrate on is an evolutionary process and a combination of skills and personal interest and passion. Some questions to ask when choosing your niche market: Is this industry stable and not dominated by one or more of my competitors? Do we have clients in the niche? Do have staff have experience in the niche? Do I have a personal interest? Does it fit for us? There is no magic formula for making the final decision however if there is any doubt don t select. Case Study To achieve success right from the start, in 1993 a newly formed insurance brokerage focused on a niche market of design professionals who had previous CEO experience in the field. The firm s CEO had good contacts and a network other CEOs he was able to immediately leverage.

2 The best way to own and dominate your market is to understand the business issues Resources to focus for your niche, acquire new clients and services As the business grew, other professionals joined the firm and used the same approach of identifying their areas of expertise and approaching other niche markets in development, construction, lawyers, accountants, and related professional service firms. This strategy permitted the firm to differentiate it self in a crowded and competitive market by learning everything about their chosen niche industries and the risks that their clients face. Identify the key characteristics of your "A" clients for example: They pay well and on time Make referrals to others on your behalf Receptive to constructive new ideas You have an opportunity to further develop your skills Use these key characteristics to create a persona of your A client buyer. This will act as filter as you begin your niche search for clones of your A clients. The payoff? Starting from scratch over 20 years ago this business has grown to 800 clients, $60 mil in premiums, 95% retention rate, and generating over $200,000 revenues per employee. Identifying the right markets to focus is an important first step. The next step is to identify the ideal traits of your best clients. 2. Create an ideal client profile To help to you identify future high potential clients in your target market create a selection criteria of your ideal client. Begin by category all of your clients into A, B, C, U: A Clients: represent your highest growth potential they may not necessarily be your biggest clients. B clients: Your bread and butter clients that pay the bill. Some of these may covert to A clients in the future. C Clients: Low growth potential, drain on resources U clients: Are unclassified or newly acquired business that you re servicing for the first time. 3. Become an insider The best way to own and dominate your market is to understand the business issues of your prospective clients and the marketplace. This may initially take some time and effort but will pay off in the long run. The best resources for becoming an insider: Industry trade associations Existing clients Publications serving the niche Directories Libraries One of the easiest ways to start is to make a list of the blogs and websites of the leaders, or influencers, in your niche, so you can follow them and track the topics that they are writing and discussing each day. Use Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to monitor activity and contribute to discussions by posting of their blog, publishing in journals and newsletters. Your goal is to discover the hot button issues and most pressing issues that potential clients are concerned about. By commenting on their blog posts, you re

3 Your goal is to discover the hot button issues and most pressing issues that potential clients are concerned about Resources to focus for your niche, acquire new clients and services exposing yourself to the readers and followers of the leaders in your field. 4. Establish the right objectives and goals Objectives are action commitments you make, they give direction and provide measurement and when fortified by action lead to a measurable result. The success of your niche-marketing program will depend on the objectives that you establish and your ability to use leveraging to accomplish your chosen goals. There are two types of objectives that you should consider: Required objectives include, survival of the business, strategic change and personal survival. Desired objectives may include, acquiring larger clients, replacing marginal business and better utilization of resources. When choosing your objectives less is better the most successful firms choose at best no more than a handful, it s far better to focus on a few and achieve them than to scatter you re your energy and resources and do a poor job on a number of them. The objectives you select will assist you as you develop your niche -marketing plan. 5. Prepare a niche marketing plan Once you ve selected your objectives translate this into action with a marketing plan that will allow you to prioritize your existing work and clients. A good marketing plan is a framework that will assist you with decision-making. A niche marketing plan for a financial services firm consist of five components: Your mission - What is the purpose of your business? Desired clients Who will you accepts and not accept as clients? Geographic focus What are your preferred areas? Positioning How do you want to be known? By whom? Competitive advantage Why you? Frequently asked questions Where do I start? Take five sheets of paper and label each with one of the five components of the plan, mission, desired clients etc. For each major heading ask who, what, where, why and how questions and brainstorm with your team, peers or colleagues. Who can help me prepare a marketing plan? The marketing plan should be prepared by the firm s leaders or by the owner for smaller and solo firms. It s beneficial to use a facilitator this could be an outside consultant, a member of your providers senior team. What should it look like? What format should it take? Keep it simple using the five above components this document should be, 2-3 pages in length. Who do I share it with? Share this with your partners, colleagues and employees. If you are a small or single operator share this your significant other (wife, partner), a peer, association executives or your suppliers (underwriters, aggregators etc.) your success is their success.

4 In three years, they went from a $500,000 deficit to a profit in excess of $1.2 million a year! Resources to focus for your niche, acquire new clients and services How often do I refer to it? I recommend at least every six or when you re making a major decision about your business. How can I use it to track my progress? Once month conduct a monthly review of your activities against the major headings of your plan, mission, desired clients, geographic focus, positioning and competitive advantage and rate yourself on scale of 1-5, five the highest and 1 lowest. Any score below 3 should be investigated and corrective action taken. Case Study After losing 6 major clients worth $2.5 million dollars in annual premiums a medium size insurance business adopted a niche strategy following a review of their existing clients. They decided to focus their marketing efforts on just 3 markets segments. The payoff? In three years, they went from a $500,000 deficit to a profit in excess of $1.2 million a year! By focusing their sales and marketing strategy, the firm was able to market and sell from comfort zone of knowledge, permitting them to create underwriting partnerships and develop specialized products for its market as well as train and motivate its re-energized employees. After completing your niche-marketing plan you are ready to start engaging with your market with an attractive value proposition. 6. Create an attractive value proposition A value proposition is a clear statement of the results a client s will receive from using your services. It packages what you do it into something that is recognizable and answers the question How can this person help me? Your financial services offering are largely an intangible ideas your value proposition statement translates this into a tangible idea that a client will recognize. An attractive value proposition consist of three components: Client centered Results and outcome focus Specific To create a new value proposition or to test/ strengthen an existing one, follow these steps: 1. Select one of your products or services 2. Choose one of the following outcome verbs: Increase Reduce Improve Create Protect Restore 3. Describe how your service applies. For example using protect ask yourself, In what ways does my service enable clients to protect something that they value? 4. Repeat this using the other outcome verbs to create additional value propositions that can accrue for a service. 5. Continue to develop additional value propositions for all your products and services. Example of a niche focused value proposition: We are a insurance firm, we help business owners to protect their assets in the event of a loss of a key person.

5 Every person should have their own personal action plan Resources to focus for your niche, acquire new clients and services Put your value proposition to work on: Website Blog Marketing materials Bio Proposals LinkedIn profile Networking conversations An attractive niche focused value proposition will allow you to differentiate, align your services with your clients needs, focus on your clients vision and provide the marketing platform to launch your marketing plan. 7. Launch your strategies and tactics Every person involved with business development in the firm should have their own personal action plan to organize and coordinate their activities, identify and build relationships with high potential prospects. A personal marketing plan is the most effective way to accomplish this. Conclusion Niche marketing is an ideal strategy for financial service firms of all sizes. Done right, it will help you become the dominant player in your market, displacing your competition and--most importantly help you to produce high revenue and increase client retention. In addition, it can actually decrease your workload! A personal marketing plan will allow you to accomplish the following: Identify opportunities and problems Establish priorities Set goals Allocate the necessary resources required to accomplish your goals Scheduling and monitoring results. Your personal marketing plan converts your intentions into commitments and your insights into action. Get into the discipline of putting your ideas in writing; a good written plan will enable you to measure progress and to experience the satisfaction of achievement.

6 Resources to focus for your niche, acquire new clients and services Get started for Free! Attached is a free worksheet take a few moments to complete it you can download additional copies here and contact me at to schedule a time to review your results. All replies are 100% confidential. There is no commitment or obligation. For more information and personal assistance in establishing a niche marketing program for your financial services business me or call I help financial service professional s focus on niche markets to acquire new clients and their services. I ve been helping financial service businesses focus their niche, articulate their offer, develop new markets and their services since 2002 My clients include AIG, Bendgo Bank, Lifebroker, Merrill Lynch and dozens of large, medium and small financial services companies. Clifton Warren 2013 Corporate Eye 52/66 Kingsway Glen Waverley Victoria Do you want to get help, or learn more? Are you looking for help implementing the ideas described above? Or are you interested in training resources or a speaker for your next function? Give me a call at or me for a prompt response!

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