In our last blog, we discussed several approaches to differentiating your practice from your competitors. We suggested that providing Exit Planning guidance to your business owner clients and subsequently implementing their Exit Plans is a demonstrably strong differentiator.
Most advisors, in some fashion, face the same challenge of gaining new clients. We know because we ask the advisors who attend our monthly virtual training sessions to name the greatest challenge to bringing more successful owners into their practices. One of the most common responses is, “getting/keeping client’s attention.” It’s good to know that you are not alone in this challenge and that you can overcome it.
If few advisors and owners are aware of your differentiator (the ability to create comprehensive Exit Plans), then the time, effort, and money you spend developing that expertise helps only the owners you already represent. The rest of your target audience needs to know about this value-add or, at a minimum, know that you are able to help owners exit their businesses on their terms. Unfortunately, it is broadcasting this value-add where many professionals either drop the ball or don’t even know how to get the ball rolling!
If your practice differentiator is that you specialize in representing owners of used bookstores, you need to broadcast how you are uniquely positioned to help the owners of those stores, and to their advisors. The objective for you and your practice is to be known for your differentiator. It is an integral element of the success of your brand.
Figuring out a way to stand out from the crowd is an age-old challenge for all professionals. It is never going away. But nowadays it is far easier, less costly and less time-intensive to address and overcome. Let’s look at what’s changed.
In the olden days (pre-2005 or so) professional advisors typically depended on referrals from clients and other advisors to grow their practices. This strategy remains popular with many professional firms today, but the fastest-growing firms also leverage non-traditional marketing techniques to promote their brand and their differentiator. They use a wide variety of informative resources including blogs, newsletters, white papers, webinars, social media posts, etc. tailored to their target audience to generate leads. These firms use these same tools to maintain frequent contact with their existing clients and advisors as well.
If you have thought about adding Exit Planning or another differentiator as a means of growing your practice, you will need marketing content and tools in addition to your knowledge base. Effective content:
- Addresses the concerns of your target audience.
- Is informative, not sales-y.
- Is consistently high-quality.
- Is bespoke (and branded by you or your firm).
- Demonstrates what differentiates you and your practice from your competitors.
- Gives you the opportunity to directly follow-up with the recipients to offer to discuss a problem they face or particular topic that interests them.
- Successful advisors provide a service or product that differentiates their practices from their competitors.
- Expertise in Exit Planning is a strong differentiator.
- The fastest-growing professional firms leverage online resources to:
- Broadcast their practice differentiator to their target market and other advisors.
- Provide valuable content to their target markets.
- Promote their brand.
- Grow their practices.