The Elements Ironstone Blog

Current news and trending topics for sales and financial industry professionals


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Does Your Niche Notice You?

Answering the question, “Does Your Niche Notice You?” may give you true insight to the effectiveness and impact of your marketing strategy.

Being all things to all people is impossible in personal lives and in your business life.   I suggest relying on the old 80/20 rule. The message of the 80/20 rule is that it reminds you to focus on the 20 percent that matters. 80% of your potential target market probably won’t buy from you.  Choosing a target or niche market is tough, but identifying the 20% who are most likely to become clients will give your firm a laser-like focus.  Without that focus, you expose yourself to presenting a message that is full of fluff to 80% of your market.

 Identifying Your Niche

Start identifying your niche with a narrow focus, but remain flexible to expand as new business is generated.  Define a high degree of specialization in order to differentiate your practice.   Avoid placing limitations on your firm and turning away business by defining your market too rigidly.

Choosing to specialize in a niche will allow you to:

  • Use your time more effectively
  • Provide better service to existing clients
  • Differentiate your firm

Navigating Your Niche

By placing focus on the niches you have identified, your ability to hone in on select groups and provide specialized service will open the door to more referrals. Existing clients and your strategic alliances will be more inclined to refer new clients in your direction.  Remind them of the ideal clients you are looking for.  Providing specific descriptions, such as “retirees between the ages of 55 and 70”, will make it easier for others to identify connections they have in a specific group.  When you simply ask for a referral without providing a descriptive landscape, it is hard for others to refer the ideal and compatible potential client. They may refer their next door neighbor who is in their mid 20’s, just starting a family…. It is your responsibility to steer your clients, alliances and COIs in the proper direction with a clear and concise description of the type of client you are looking for.

Get Your Niche To Notice You

Avoid aiming for an undecided percentage or portion of the already saturated broad market.  This will place your firm with every other financial advisor in your area and provide no means of differentiation.

By identifying a market position or niche, you will be on the path of instilling operational effectiveness, success and a clear vision for you and your firm. Your service and product offerings will be aligned with your niche, thus providing a solution to client’s unique needs.

When you identify and market to a niche, your firm is:

More likely to have an impact – strong positions in a target market provide your business with identity.

Able to stand apart from competitors – your firm is positioned to connect and engage in meaningful solutions to specific needs.

Positioned to grow organically – by providing laser-focus service, your clients will be marketing your firm for you.

There are a plethora of niches you can choose from.  Choose niches that you have a genuine passion for and reap the benefits of being viewed as an expert in your field. You need to work with clients you are comfortable with.

 “Please all and you please none.”   -Aesop, Greek Author

We are curious! Who are your niche markets? How is your firm benefiting from niche marketing? 

 Learn more about how Ironstone can impact the operational effectiveness of your firm!  Read more at www.ironstonehq.com

 Follow us as we explore each of Ironstone’s Fundamental 4™!

  • Strategic Planning
  • Business Development
  • Operational Effectiveness
  • The Human Element

Coming up next, Operational Effectiveness & Your Client Database

 

 

• Email us at info@ironstonehq.com
• Call our office at 800-917-8020
• Connect with us:


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Build It & They Will Come – Earning Referrals

Imagine your field of dreams overflowing with all of the referrals you could ever hope for!  Closing your eyes and picturing a huge field full of perfect referrals to help you grow your firm doesn’t have to be a dream, you can make it reality.

The old way of getting a referral is more than just old.   It’s now considered greedy, pushy and desperate.  Asking for referrals puts your clients in an uncomfortable position.  Building loyalty and trust with clients is paramount to ensure client retention.  Making clients feel uncomfortable by asking for a referral could jeopardize your relationship, thus causing more harm than good.

I have noticed that nothing I never said ever did me any harm.   ~Calvin Coolidge

Referrals are still the best and most profitable source for new client acquisition.  Learning how to earn referrals is the key to a successful referral plan. It is easy to ask for a referral, anyone can do it.   Elite advisors don’t ask, they earn.  Implementing a referral program at your firm should be a goal for every advisor.  Learning the correct way to implement and use your plan is vital to overall firm reputation, growth and profitability.

Putting your reputation on the line; why would anyone give you a referral?

When a client or strategic alliance partner provides a referral to your firm, their reputation is on the line.  To earn a referral, the referee needs to feel confident that you are trustworthy, knowledgeable and will provide a positive experience to a new prospect.  As an advisor, your primary focus must be on the client and the overall client service  you provide.  If you are “just in it for the money”, clients will eventually see through the bogus wall.

Steps to earn referrals;

Ironstone has compiled a list of the best practices you can use and apply to start earning referrals and stop asking for them. 

  • Become friends with your clientsMeet with clients socially at business networking events and other non-sales related events.
  • Provide incredible client serviceThis will instill a “no-fear” mindset in your client.  Clients will feel there is little risk in recommending your firm to a peer.
  • Pay It ForwardYou need to give to get!  Avoid making the mistake of expecting something in return.
  • Be availableMake it easy for clients and prospects to do business with anyone in your firm at all times.
  • Be patientKeep in mind that relationships take time to build, let them develop over time otherwise you come off as “needy”.
  • Provide educationUse newsletters, client meetings, email, websites and social media to keep your clients and prospects informed of current issues.

Client referrals start with the quality and depth of your client relationships.  You may choose to include asking for referrals in your overall strategy; however, once you have incorporated earning referrals in your strategic referral plan, provide first-class service and a memorable experience; referrals will fill your field of dreams.

We are curious!!  How do you earn referrals?  Do you ask or earn?

Follow us as we explore each of Ironstone’s Fundamental 4™!

  • Strategic Planning
  • Business Development
  • Operational Effectiveness
  • The Human Element

Coming up next, learn about operational effectiveness and your service matrix!

• Email us at info@ironstonehq.com
• Call our office at 800-917-8020
• Connect with us:


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Foster, Strengthen & Maintain Relationships Through Client Appreciation Events

Give your clients a reason to be loyal! Hosting client events are an integral part of your overall business strategy and comprehensive marketing plan. Taking the time and effort to plan targeted events will:

• help you foster, strengthen and maintain relationships with your best clients
• increase the percentage of wealth you manage for your clients
• generate referrals
• defend your position with competitors

Most advisors will agree that there is no better compliment than to receive a spontaneous referral. Incorporate a strategy in your marketing plan to generate quality referrals and networking opportunities through client appreciation events. When this strategy is integrated, advisors must commit to a specified amount of face time for client relationships to develop.
Be proactive and consider incorporating no less than 4 events each year. Plan a balanced mix of educational and social events. Social events can be planned for select groups of clients who share similar passions or consider hosting a large all-encompassing event.

Establish The Goal Of Your Event
Consider the goal of your event before you begin the planning process. Are you interested in connecting with a smaller group of people on a more personal basis or do you want to touch all of your clients? Your answer will determine the size and theme of your event.

Are Your Events Boring?
If you are finding that clients are not attending your events and not bringing guests, most often the reason is because your event is boring. Work towards success and make the engagement worthwhile so that you capture the interests of your clients. Learn the passions and interests of your clients and build events that will spur their interest.

Make Your Event Easy To Attend
Put extra effort in planning your event so that guests arriving feel welcome and comfortable from the time they arrive! Consider issues like transportation, parking, and a central location where your firm will greet and register your guests.

Ironstone offers an event planning checklist along with an event planning idea list to make your client appreciation events easy for you to plan.

Client Appreciation Event Ideas
• Open House
• Holiday Parties
• Gardening Classes
• Cooking Classes
• Movie Events
• Yoga Instruction
• Golf Instruction
• Retirement Parties
• Dance Instruction
• Financial Education Related Events
• Entertainment Events-dinner theater, comedy or magic show, fashion show
• Food, Drink & Tasting Events
• Charity Events
• Art Events
As you can see, the possibilities are endless. Keep an open mind and hone in on the passions of your clients.

Keys to Success
The success of your event will depend on your understanding of your objectives and how well you know your clients and their personal preferences. Be sure to address the following  key areas:
Define your objectives. What do you hope to accomplish (referrals, good will, etc.)?
• Choose the right event. What event will draw clients?
• Invite the right clients. Who should be invited (for smaller events) and how will you get them there?
• Pay attention to details. What needs to be planned to execute the event flawlessly?
• Convey your appreciation. What do you need to say to make your clients feel truly valued and want to tell their network about your firm?

And finally, DO NOT forget to follow up! Make it standard procedure to follow up with clients who attended and have written process for how and when the follow up will take place.

Ironstone can assist you in developing successful client appreciation events. We specialize in identifying gaps in your existing plan and will collaborate with you to develop solutions that are parallel in achieving the results your desire. Through our experience, there are vital steps in the event process that get overlooked.  Download our event planning checklist – 5.17.12Event Checklist

Contact us for assistance in starting and improving your Client Appreciation Events.  We want to hear from you!  Share your best ideas here!  What events has your firm hosted that produced the best results?  We always love hearing from you!

Follow us as we explore each of Ironstone’s Fundamental 4™!

• Strategic Planning
• Business Development
• Operational Effectiveness
• The Human Element

You won’t want to miss our next in the series: The Human Element-Team Development
• Email us at info@ironstonehq.com
• Call our office at 800-917-8020
• Follow us on twitter @ https://twitter.com/#!/AndreaSchlapia
• Join us on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/IronstoneCommunications
• Connect with us on LinkedIn @ http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=29647364&trk=tab_pro