Business Development Clinic: 6 myths about niching that are stopping you becoming a rainmaker for your firm

Whenever I speak to a manager, associate or senior manager at the moment, I get asked the question “should I specialise and get a niche?” I, then, get all the typical responses as to why they shouldn’t niche themselves – in particular, they don’t want to narrow their marketplace, and become less attractive to their clients, or potential clients. This is one of the myths that I hear so often about niching. So, I decided to bust the rest of the myths and misconceptions that I hear about niches (all the time). 

Myth 1: I will have to turn away clients who are not from my niche.

Are you really going to turn away good fee paying clients who are not from your niche? Of course not. Remember that your niche doesn’t have to become the only type of business you will accept and work with. It doesn’t stop you getting referrals from outside of your niche – but if you get your marketing around the niche right, and you have a healthy amount of leads it will allow you the option of pursuing the lead or not.

More importantly, differentiating yourself from your partners and peers by focusing on a niche actually helps you become a destination point for referrals – rather than helping your partner gain more clients for their tab.

Myth 2: I will lose existing clients if I adopt a niche and they are not from that niche.

Existing clients only tend to move from their professional advisor if:

a) They don’t feel they are getting value for money

b) They believe that they have grown out their current advisor and need a different level of expertise and advice

c) The service they get from their advisor is poor.

Think about it, if your current clients are very happy with the service you provide them, why will they want to leave you just because your marketing materials have changed? Adopting a niche is really for the purposes of acquiring new clients.

Click here to download our free Niche Worksheet to help you quickly and simply decide on your niche. (email required)

Myth 3: Adopting a niche will make me vulnerable if the bottom falls out of that market place

Actually adopting a niche is not what will make you vulnerable. What will make you vulnerable is not proactively looking ahead and managing these business challenges as they appear. What will make you vulnerable is doing what you have always done, regardless of the world changing around you. Before you decide to focus on a niche, think strategically. What market places are growing? Where does your firm need more senior level professionals at partner level? These questions will help you make the right early decision about your niche.

Your niche doesn’t have to be static, it can change and diversify over time as the market conditions change.

Myth 4: I need to choose an industry sector to have a niche

A niche doesn’t have to be an industry by the way. It can be a type of person, industry sector, particular problem. The point here is to look at how real the niche actually is. ‘Owner managed businesses’, ‘SMEs’, ‘large corporates’ is not a niche.

Myth 5: All I need to do is put on my marketing materials that I have a niche

Actually no. your potential clients can see through any marketing rhetoric. What you actually need to do, as I mentioned above is really walk your walk and talk your talk. After all, the FT Effective Client-Adviser relationship report which came out at the back of last year, was very clear on this matter. Your potential clients want someone who really understands their business and the marketplace that they operate in. That means you need to be really passionate about your clients and their industry. The senior manager I was talking to yesterday is building up a niche in cosmetic and fashion companies. As she mentioned she is really interested in this marketplace, in a way which her 50 year old audit male partner just isn’t. If you only pay lip service to your niche, then this will have no impact what so ever on your marketing effectiveness.

Myth 6: If I am going to survive and thrive I need to have a niche

I spend much of my time talking with professionals, from small, medium and large sized practices. They all tend to complain that it is nigh on impossible to differentiate themselves from their competitors down the road. As a consequence they often find the only thing that they can compete on is price – which as we know often results into a fight to the bottom. They are often struggling to develop high quality leads at a sufficient enough rate to grow their practice to where they need to get it.

If your marketing is working well enough for you that you don’t need to worry about the quality and volume of leads you generate each month, then don’t pick a niche. Why break something which is working for you? Or if you have enough clients for your practice, then you have no need to focus on client acquisition – let natural referrals from your current client base bring you all the new clients you need.

In summary:

At the end of the day adopting a niche helps to really hone your marketing impact and effectiveness. Focusing on a niche will probably be the best thing you can do to make sure you become a valuable rainmaking member of the team.

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If you need help to capitalise on your niche, then download our free guide to choosing and leveraging your niche

 

 

 


Author Credit:

HowtoMakePartner book jacketWritten by Heather Townsend. I help professionals become the ‘Go To Expert’. I am the co-author of ‘How to make partner and still have a life‘ and the author of the award-winning and bestselling book on Networking, ‘The FT Guide To Business Networking‘.

To find out whether I can help you read ‘is this you

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