Attracting clients through specializing

You don’t go to a cardiologist because your knee hurts. Instead, your general practitioner may have referred you to that cardiologist to diagnose a specific heart problem. We want our clients, our prospects and those who refer us to understand what we’re great at and that we’re specialists in that field, much like cardiologists are specialists in their field. 

Understanding where you excel

For my firm, I asked, “What are we doing that somebody else is not doing and that we really enjoy and are good at?” That led us into the realm of pension markets, pension-type planning and combination plans using different retirement plans and actuarial designs that we were coming across in this market. We determined that we were going to specialize in vetting and doing due diligence on multiple plan designs and combinations that are available in the marketplace.

We developed into situational specialists. Our clients have specific problems and fit a specific profile. Because of that, we attract referrals across the country.

We took a path toward a very complex area and transformed it into an elementary understanding for our clients. Our goal is to add value by showing business owners who generally have fewer than 50 employees how to pull more profits out of the business on a pretax basis. This gives them the ability to reduce the amount of taxes they are currently paying on their income and possibly even reduce their tax bracket.

Furthermore, we work closely with CPAs. They get involved with all the tax numbers and planning of this, especially when we’re determining cash flow and bringing that together for the best fit for the client. Of course, it boosts the amount of money clients are saving for retirement. They can push themselves way ahead of the game in putting away very large contributions into plans.

Marketing matters

To succeed as a specialist, let the world know what your expertise is. Create marketing around whom you serve, why you serve them and why you are the best firm or person to solve that specific problem. Branding has to be focused exactly on that one piece you choose to specialize in. Be intentional and narrow your message. 

I’ve seen many websites and advisors who marketed to business owners, young professionals, women and physicians. When you put all those markets together, you’re telling the world that you will work with anybody. That’s not how to market yourself as a specialist. The narrower you can get, the less competition you will face.

Keeping focused

You can use your generalist advisor to take care of certain things, but when the specialist needs to be involved, you start to attract clients with these challenges. Our biggest sources of referrals are generalist advisors and CPAs with whom we have built relationships. When they tell their clients, “You really need to go to a specialist to take care of this specific issue,” that has become our firm. 

We have the knowledge, experience and wisdom to help put it all together for our target market of business owners. In doing so, we became specialists and a huge value to our referring partners.

This was excerpted from the 2021 Top of the Table Annual Meeting presentation “How to become the preeminent thought leader in one specific niche by developing an expertise.” (Exclusive for Top of the Table and Court of the Table members).

David Podell, of Fairfield, New Jersey, USA, is a 19-year MDRT member and a Top of the Table member.  

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