Become a go-to expert

You can become a go-to expert by focusing and promoting your practice in a niche market. By specializing in a chosen area, you will not only be able to use your time and skills more effectively to serve a unique set of clients, but you can also differentiate yourself and your practice to gain a competitive edge.

“Specialization will allow you to stand out among your peers and become the go-to expert in your field, especially if you’re good at what you do,” says Raymond Yates, financial advisor and senior partner at Save Right Financial Inc. in Mississauga, Ont.

Here are some steps toward establishing yourself as a go-to expert in a niche market:

Define your niche
Your niche could typically be a group of clients who share a common set of characteristics and needs, such as retirees, a specific profession or an ethnic group. You should have some natural interest or ability to work with the chosen niche, says Lou D’Aversa, senior financial consultant at MD Physician Services Inc. in Toronto.

Adds Yates: “It must be an area in which you are comfortable and have the knowledge to serve.”

Assess of your niche
Evaluate whether your niche is large enough to support the growth of your practice. Compile as much information as possible about its attributes, Yates suggests.

“You must also understand your capacity to serve your niche,” he says.

Your goal is to know everything you can about your target market and ensure that your strengths and skills are aligned with its needs, D’Aversa says.

Don’t over-extend yourself
“You cannot be all things to all people,” Yates says. “It’s not possible to be a general practitioner anymore.” 

By sticking to a single-purpose practice, D’Aversa says, you can gain the experience and develop the skills and expertise to “understand almost every scenario possible in a specific area.”

Clients like working with advisors who understand their businesses, lifestyles and the challenges they face. This affinity leads to more ideal referrals and increased business, he adds. To remain successful, Yates recommends you build in-depth knowledge and staying abreast of developments in your chosen market niche.

Position yourself as an expert

Promote your value proposition, using marketing methods that are effective with your target niche, Yates says.

“Networking with centers of influence and making it known to them what you do can go a far way in promoting yourself as the go-to person,” Yates says. He recommends becoming a speaker at community events or writing articles in local newspapers highlighting the solutions you provide.

“You must take deliberate steps to gain credibility,” D’Aversa says. He suggests joining associations or community groups with which your target market is associated, sitting on relevant boards and committees and volunteering your services.

D’Aversa says your message should be: “I specialize in providing solutions for clients like you.”

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