riskHere’s a problem I see.  Most wealth management firms sound like every other wealth management firm.  If you were to line up five really good wealth management firms and look at their websites, you would have a hard time figuring out what the difference is between them.

If you ever think that you wished your firm really had a significant difference from your competitors read on.

It starts and ends with niche.

For me the difference between one firm and another is the niche they serve.  If your firm doesn’t have a well-defined niche, it’s going to be almost impossible for your potential clients and introduction sources to see how you’re different.

I’m sure your firm provides great service and great advice.  The problem is how will a potential client know you’re the right firm?  How will a COI know that they should refer to your firm versus anyone else’s firm?

The only way this can happen is if you have a client base that is different from the average wealth management firm.  In other words, you have to have a niche that is well defined and one you add tons of extra value.

Are you an expert at helping your best clients?

Part of the cool thing about having a well defined niche is that you become really, really good at serving your clients.  You can help your clients achieve a positive outcome that has more value and is done more quickly than any firm that’s a generalist.

The challenge with becoming a niche expert is that it takes time.  For me, developing expertise in helping my clients achieve a business with sustainable value has taken years of work, experimenting and seeing what works and what doesn’t.  It wasn’t an easy road.  Now I can quickly and efficiently deliver value that few others in my world can.

The same will be true for you.  While you’re getting your firm ready to be really different you’re going to go through a learning curve.  This learning curve is going to take time.  It’s not a fast process.

How often do you actually talk about what your clients can expect.

Too often I see wealth managers talk about what they do.  Rarely do I see wealth managers talk about what their clients can expect.

In business we seem to not want to make any promises about what we deliver.  We always want clients to take the leap and trust that what we do is what our clients want.  I think that’s backwards.  I think you need to be talking about what your clients can expect and what you do to back up your promises.

I’m not talking about investment returns.  I’m talking about what it means to work with your firm.  This is going to require that you think about your business in a different manner.

How often do you say no to potential clients.

This is where being different gets hard.  If you’re not saying no to people who don’t fit in with your expertise, you’re saying yes to people you probably shouldn’t be working with.  That is if you want to have a firm that’s recognizably different.

You’ve probably already figured out that I think being different provides a real competitive advantage.  For you to really get the most from this advantage you’re going to have to make yourself be different.  That means you’ll have to be able to say no to those you can’t add a massive amount of value. 

It also takes you being honest with yourself.  It’s really hard to say, “you know, I’m not very good at serving this type of client.”  Once you take the plunge and do this you’ll find it a liberating experience.

Being different is taking a risk….

The hard part about making your firm be different is you’re going to feel like you’re taking a great big risk.   You’ll be moving in a direction that’s different from the herd.  You’re going to find that some people might even tell you that you’re crazy.

The real issue is that you’re going to have to learn how to trust your instincts.  You’re going to have to think thoroughly about what you’re willing to do and why it’s important for you.  If you don’t do this, you’ll never have the courage to make changes you think you want to make.

Now it’s your turn.

This is a road not taken sort of thing.  I know you can make your firm something that’s really different, something that stands for what most of the world won’t want.  At the same time, the small group of people who will want it will really want it.  And they’ll be willing to pay you more than if your firm just tries to be all things to all people.

If this is something that you’re interested in start with small steps.  Build some confidence that you’re doing the right thing.  Before you know it, you’ll have reinvented your firm and built something that is really different and valuable.

What do you think is something you’d like to do?  If you’re really interested in going down this road, plan to spend a few minutes talking with me.  I’ll be able to help you ask some tough questions that you might not be willing to ask yourself.

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Topics: business differentiation, Marketing, niche, target market

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