Episode 1: Knowing your niche — and yourself

July 26, 2019

Episode 1

This episode, on Prosper:

Bruce Sellery speaks with Judy Paradi, partner at StrategyMarketing.ca, about how identifying your unconscious biases can improve your conversations with clients and prospects. Then, James Pollard, owner of The Advisor Coach, talks about how working with niche clients can help you build a better practice.

Listener note: the stats mentioned by James are American. Transcript below.

See all our episodes here.


Hosted and produced by Bruce Sellery

Mixed and edited by Jason Perrier of Phizzy Studios

Editorial direction and visuals by the Advisor’s Edge team

© 2019 Transcontinental Media G.P.


Email: news.advisor@tc.tc

Web: advisor.ca/prosper

Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn


Listen on Apple Podcasts Listen on Google Podcasts Listen on Stitcher

Text Transcript

Bruce Sellery: Hello, I’m Bruce Sellery. This is Prosper, the financial advisor’s podcast from Advisor’s Edge. Coming up, busting up bias, how to improve the way you work with female clients.

Judy Paradi: There has to be that conscious decision to say, “I want to do this.”

Bruce Sellery: Judy Paradi, partner with strategymarketing.ca on how to build awareness about unconscious bias and improve your process to help mitigate it and focus-pocus, the magic of zeroing in on a specific market niche.

James Pollard: It makes everything easier. Referrals start to be way easier. You could get speaking gigs easier. Your ad cost goes way down.

Bruce Sellery: The Advisor Coach, James Pollard, on why knowledge of your niche leads to a better business. That’s coming up on Prosper.

Stefanie MacDonald: Hi, I’m Stefanie MacDonald, Group Publisher of the Advisor Group at TC Media. Did you know Advisor’s Edge also host advisor events? We’ve recently held conferences about ETFs, women in the financial industry, and improving your practice in Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal. To learn more about our past and upcoming events, head over to our website at advisor.ca/events. But be sure to register early as most of our events sell out.

Bruce Sellery: The mortality tables do not lie. Women outlive men by an average of about four years. As most financial advisors understand, that means that if they aren’t already, women will likely be in charge of the family finances at some point in their lives. How can you improve the way you work with women? Our next guest says you need to start with what you don’t know you don’t know, your unconscious biases. Judy Paradi is a partner at strategymarketing.ca and the coauthor of INVEST(in)HER: The Smart financial Advisors Guide to Winning Female Clients in 6 Easy Steps. Hello there.

Judy Paradi: Hello.

Bruce Sellery: We’re going to talk about unconscious bias in a second, but I want you to give me the one number that you believe makes the point that advisors absolutely need to focus on female clients.

Judy Paradi: Well, that’s a-

Bruce Sellery: There are many, right?

Judy Paradi: There are many. I think the one we’ve used most recently is because the date is so imminent is 67% of wealth in the US will be in the hands of women by 2020.

Bruce Sellery: Wow.

Judy Paradi: Yeah. Wow is right.

Wow. Now, I’m going to put two disclaimers out here. First, we live in a world of gender fluidity, the gender non-binary. Let’s not read too much into male female because-

Judy Paradi: Absolutely.

Bruce Sellery: … that isn’t the way the world is. Second, of course, that every individual is unique. We’re going to talk about some broad themes, but we’re going to steer clear of stereotyping to the extent that we can. What I think one of the things that’s interesting about your firm, first, is its focus, but second of all the coming together of a marketing perspective and a financial industry perspective with your partner, Paulette Filion. What’s your mission? What are you trying to do?

Judy Paradi: What’s our mission? Our mission, our passion is connecting the financial community to women. They’re both looking for something. Women are looking for an industry that understands them. The financial community is looking to participate in this huge emergence of women’s wealth.

Bruce Sellery: You assert that many financial advisors are failing women. How come?

Judy Paradi: Yes, they are. Well, statistically, 73% I believe is the number we use. Women say they’re unhappy with the financial services that they receive.

Bruce Sellery: Wow.

Judy Paradi: Yeah. It’s a big number, and 87% say they’re looking for financial advisors, but they can’t find any that they can relate to. It’s not that there aren’t women. It’s not that there aren’t advisors looking for women. It’s if they can’t relate to them. This is where we talk about unconscious biases.

Bruce Sellery: Do you think, and in your experience, that female advisors have an easier time relating to women or do they sometimes fall into the same traps?

Judy Paradi: Good that you used that term. Yeah. Sometimes, women do fall into the same traps because they learn at the heels of men. There’s a sort of understanding that this is what an advisor should look like. This is how an advisor should behave. I think in their eagerness to do well in the industry, women will sort of try to mimic that same behavior. Having said that, I think intuitively, and we’ve run into some phenomenal female advisors, intuitively, they do tend to get a little bit better, but not always.

Bruce Sellery: Unconscious bias is a phrase that has real currency today in so many different parts of our lives, the workplace, relationships, education. How would you define that phrase?

Judy Paradi: Interesting because I’ve done a lot of reading on unconscious biases. Apparently, 98% of our behavior is informed by unconscious biases. There are things where we pick up from the day we’re born, how your mother treated your father, what you see on TV, what you see in media. Then, it goes on to your education. It goes on to learning to be a financial advisor, the behaviors you see modeled there.

Judy Paradi: Unconscious behaviors are in everything. We say to advisors, “Yes, you’re guilty of unconscious behaviors,” but it’s nothing to be ashamed of because we all are. Everything we do.

Bruce Sellery: We went traveling to Vietnam. As a Canadian raised here, I have a certain bias as to how cars and motorcycles behave. You go to Hanoi, and they behave in a very, very different way. Have you been to Vietnam?

Judy Paradi: Been there, done that.

Bruce Sellery: Right? You go to cross the street; you can’t even bring yourself to forge out into traffic because you’re convinced you’re going to get ahead. For a person who was raised in Vietnam to come back to Canada to assume that someone’s going to avoid them like they do back home is not the same.

Judy Paradi: Yeah. I come from a different country too. Unconscious biases are everywhere. We’re all guilty of them.

Bruce Sellery: What are some examples of ones that you have seen that are relevant between a female advisor … or sorry, a female client and a financial advisor, male or female.?

Judy Paradi: When I talk about unconscious bias, I sort of divide it into three groups. They’re the biggies, the things that financial advisors learn when they become financial advisors, how to look successful, how to look important. Whether it’s a way they stand, whether it’s the expensive watch or the suit, those sort of things that project a certain image.

Judy Paradi: Then, there’s their behaviors. Your assumptions, what you assume about people inform your behaviors. If I assume women all want children, if I assume that men all love sports, if I assume the certain things about people that I’ve learned from an early age, then it informs my behavior and my behavior may be to speak to the woman only about family matters, to sort of a reserve important questions to the man. If you assume that women don’t like math, you’re not going to talk to them about that.

Judy Paradi: Those are unconscious behaviors which manifest in your body language. You’re looking at the male if you have a couple as a client. You’re not looking at her. You’re using jargon. Jargon is we all use jargon in our industry. You probably have them in your industry. I remember teaching your class at the university and saying something like, “When you have B2B or B2C, the ROI is dependent on the KPI.”

Bruce Sellery: Of course.

Judy Paradi: The kids all looked at me like I was out of my mind. I wasn’t trying to be obnoxious, but it was just … These are all biases that we’re unaware of. We all do them.

Bruce Sellery: I’m interested in the gendered view of what project success and this hypothesis that for a male, it is the soup, maybe the cologne, the fancy office. What would project success for a female client more so than those particular things?

Judy Paradi: That’s a really interesting question. That is a very interesting question because I’m not sure that women think in terms of success in quite the same way. Success financially is the same as success as a human being and success as human being, maybe that he’s … I’m going to use he not to-

Bruce Sellery: For simplicity.

Judy Paradi: … for simplicity. He’s a really nice guy. He has family. All the values that he has, he talks to me like a person. I see that as success more than he’s driving a Lamborghini or whatever.

Bruce Sellery: Right. I don’t care what kind of car he’s got. But I love that he loves his kids.

Judy Paradi: Yeah. In fact, yes, certainly by all means. Look neat, be clean, do all those sort of normal things that project success. Don’t be shabby. But the excessive success turns women off because their thinking is that where my money is going. Pardon me, but what an arrogant so and so.

Bruce Sellery: Right. We don’t have the same values. I wouldn’t-

Judy Paradi: Absolutely.

Bruce Sellery: … talk so openly about four homes and four jobs.

Judy Paradi: Absolutely.

Bruce Sellery: Now, there is a view that in order for us to overcome biases, we need awareness, training, and process or at least those are the three buckets that I have heard. How does a financial advisor build awareness about the biases that are by definition hidden from their view?

Judy Paradi: The three of them, we sort of conflate. The awareness can’t be … First of all, there has to be just a recognition. But, yes, I want to go after women … That sounds terrible. I want to acquire women as clients. I want to keep my existing ones. There has to be that conscious decision to say, “I want to do this.” Creating the-

Bruce Sellery: What you’re saying is if you don’t have an interest in building your book in that demographic, you can enjoy this conversation because it was a delightful conversation, but you don’t need to do anything with them.

Judy Paradi: Absolutely. We say, “Whoa,” to you facetiously. The three, we sort of conflate because awareness is sort of predicated on behaviors. Invite somebody in. Invite an associate in with you in a meeting to say, “What am I doing? Can you just pay attention to what I’m doing?”

Bruce Sellery: Be a second set of eyes.

Judy Paradi: Yeah. But already at that point, you’re already aware and you’ve already admitted that, yes, I do have subconscious unconscious biases that you just have to be aware of that. If you’re not, then again, like you said to me as well, go home at that point, but have another set of eyes. Record it. We do a role playing in our workshops. How do you relate to women? These are such unconscious biases.

Judy Paradi: We had one gentleman that took a course and he did a fantastic job. Then he emailed us and said, “Your course was great. Thank you so much. I’m going to put on some events for women and I’d just like to thank you girls for helping me.” We, of course, said, “You know what? That’s not acceptable.” He answered quite honestly. He said, “I wasn’t even aware I’m doing that.”.

Bruce Sellery: The process is pretty powerful. You talked about the assistant in the room, the role plays. You talked about a questionnaire for a female-friendly practice. What would be some items on that questionnaire?

Stefanie MacDonald: Yeah. It’s pretty straight forward. I don’t know how many questions. We have 20 or 30 or whatever. It’s on our site. You can access it. Have a look at your own client base and ask yourself really simple questions like, “What do I know about her? Do I know how many kids she has? Do I know how old she is? Do I know what her bucket list is? What are her hobbies? Does she love gardening? Does she like pet,” because if you don’t know anything about her, you don’t have a relationship. Any more than a doctor isn’t going to prescribe a cure for you unless they know what’s wrong with you, you can’t prescribe a financial plan for someone unless you know what they want, what their outcomes.

Bruce Sellery: I want to specifically ask about what that chat looks like. If it’s not for many men, male to male, if it’s not about sports, what’s the opener? I know this might be in the land of stereotype or cliché. What’s the opener that you would plant in a financial advisor’s head to start with instead of did you see the game?

Judy Paradi: It’s very circumstantial. Obviously, if the person lives in a house and they have a beautiful garden, that might be, “Thank you for having me in. What a lovely garden you have.” But it could be just something as simple as, “Tell me about yourself.” Before we go anywhere, before I tell you anything about my service, what I do, what my company does, I’d really like to hear about you, your family, your hopes, your dreams, where you want to retire, your bucket list.

Bruce Sellery: Does motivation matter here? I asked because many financial advisors, maybe even most financial advisors genuinely want to help people. That’s why they’re in this business. Others, they want to build a book and they hear that number about 67% or whatever it is, and there’s a million numbers like that that underscored the business opportunity that this is. Does motivation matter?

Judy Paradi: Yeah, it does. We sort of divide it into four things, and we approach our clients who are financial advisors based on what their motivation is. Some of them, it’s fear, fear of losing a client. Some of them have already said, “I’ve lost several widows.” We know the stat. 80% of widows leave their advisors. Others say, “I’ve gone to several meetings with prospective clients. I’ve lost them.” They’re not picking me. Why?

Judy Paradi: We would approach that as one sort of scenario. Then, the very closely rated one is the one you mentioned, the opportunity, the ones that say, “Hey, I just don’t want to be left off this train.” There’s a huge opportunity here. They’re very motivated. Those first two groups are hugely motivated. The third group that we do put in there are the altruistic advisors and they truly do exist.

Judy Paradi: The ones that say, “My mother got divorced when I was in university or my dad left, and she had no idea what was going on and I felt so badly for her or my sister’s husband died.” Whatever it is, I don’t want to see that happen to other people, so other women specifically. They consciously make an effort. They’re great to deal with.

Judy Paradi: Then there’s, again, the fourth one that are also excellent to work with that are motivated by lifestyle. We’ve had advisors come to us that say, “I am stressed. I’m ready to quit this industry.” My male clients, they typically say, “My clients beat me to death every day, especially when the markets are poor.” Then, they’ve sort of had this epiphany. I dealt with a female client. Wow, she appreciated what I did.

Judy Paradi: She offered me tea. We talked and she thanked me. Even when the markets weren’t up, she said, “Well, I trust you. They’ll go up again.” There’s the sort of four categories. Depending on where you fall, you have different motivators.

Bruce Sellery: Judy, thank you very much for this.

Judy Paradi: My pleasure.

Bruce Sellery: Whatever your motivation, we love financial advisors who are really digging in and working in this area. Thank you. Judy Paradi, partner at strategymarketing.ca and co-author of INVEST(in)HER: The Smart Financial Advisors Guide to Winning Female Clients in 6 Easy Steps.

Bruce Sellery: Coming up on prosper, knowing your niche, how to get more clients by focusing on fewer.

James Pollard: When you focus in on a target market and you go to build your business and you put marketing collateral together, that is all about the target market. You’re helping them. You’re adding value.

Bruce Sellery: And prosperous practice, a quick tip on building your business.

Bev Moir: My tip is about seminars as a prospecting approach. I broadened my visibility in my community and I provide a good service to existing clients while meeting potential new ones in a relaxed setting.

Bruce Sellery: Hey, there’s a ton of really great information and insight on our website, advisor.ca, articles on industry news, tax issues, investments, insurance and practice management. You can also sign up for our daily e-newsletter and subscribe to our print magazine. We’ll be right back.

Stefanie MacDonald: Hi, I’m Stefanie MacDonald, Group Publisher of the Advisor Group at TC Media. Advisor’s Edge is committed to your professional development. We’ve collaborated with our sister publications to create CE Corner, the premier continuing education destination for Canada’s financial professionals. At CE Corner, we have useful courses to enlighten and challenge you while helping you meet your professional obligations. Go to CECorner.ca to earn credits from IIROC, FP Canada, The Institute, and provincial insurance regulators. That’s CECorner.ca.

Bruce Sellery: You know that saying less is more. It definitely does not apply to beach time or chocolate because more is more in both of those examples, but it can be a powerful lesson when it comes to building your book of business. The idea that you focus on fewer types of clients can help you bring in more of them and serve them better. James Pollard calls himself The Advisor Coach, and he joins us now to talk about knowing your niche. Hello there.

James Pollard: Hello. I’m glad to be here talking about knowing your niche and I hope we’re going to have a lot of financial advisors today.

Bruce Sellery: Why are you so passionate about the niche approach?

James Pollard: Because it makes everything easier. I’ve discovered that when it comes to marketing, it’s like a jigsaw puzzle. You want to put the pieces together, and it’s kind of like putting together a 50-piece puzzle if you have a target market versus a 5,000-piece puzzle if you don’t have a target market. Sure, it can be done. You can eventually get that puzzle put together, but it’s a heck of a lot easier if you’ve got the picture right in front of you and you only have 50 pieces, if that makes sense.

Bruce Sellery: Yeah. You’ve got five ideas on potential niche sort of buckets, an occupational niche, specific companies, specific products, life transition and money in motion is number five. What do you mean by life transitions? Please don’t tell me you encourage people to chase ambulances. You’re not talking about that, are you?

James Pollard: No, no, no. There are certain financial advisors who have done extremely well with college planning. That’s a transition with divorce. Unfortunately, that’s a transition as well where people need service. Death of a spouse, there’s a statistic out there that I recently read. I can’t remember the source, but it’s 70% of widows leave their financial advisor within the year after their husband passes away, unfortunately. [Editor’s note: the stats mentioned by James are American.]

James Pollard: There are some financial advisors who were specialized in the death of a spouse. Childbirth is one of them, weddings and funerals, unfortunately, different life transitions, but they all have opportunities for financial advisors.

Bruce Sellery: I can see someone targeting life transitions in particular newly widowed women, which the mortality tables will tell us. It’s more often a woman than a man. But how do you actually go about doing that? Do you read the obituaries in every nearby paper?

James Pollard: Well, a lot of times, it comes from referrals meaning if you have a conversation in advance with one of your clients, and let’s say that they bring a friend to one of the client appreciation events. Actually, the example I’m giving you recently happened to one of my inner circle members. He told me about it. He had a client come to one of his events, brought a friend and they got to talking. I mean this is something that came up in conversation that the husband had passed away, and the wife wasn’t as happy with her current advisor because he never paid attention to her.

James Pollard: He dismissed her. I mean it’s a sad story, but it’s what happened. The advisor was kind enough to say, “Hey, you know what? Let me take a look at everything. Come into my office next week. We can talk shop. It’s client appreciation but we’re not going to talk shop here, but we can.” From there, it just happened naturally.

Bruce Sellery: Yeah. Money in motion were the other bucket that I mentioned. One example you give is a business owners had some sort of a liquidity event. They’ve sold a private company or whatever. How do you find these? You argue you can find some of these online.

James Pollard: Sure. Yeah. You mentioned that the business owners, one of the best ways to do that if you’re looking to get it done is to form a referral relationship with a business broker. A lot of times, people who are selling their businesses are very private, but if the mortgage, not mortgage broker, if the business broker has picked up on the fact that maybe they need some help managing your money or there’s something that should be done financially, then that is another great opportunity. It’s something that could be set up, if you build relationships with multiple business brokers. You can capitalize on these transitions, and it’s not as hard as everyone thinks. You just have to look for the opportunity and seize it.

Bruce Sellery: What do those relationships with a business broker as an example? What do they look like? Is it a referral fee? Is it tickets to a ball game every once in a while? What are the terms on which those things are founded?

James Pollard: I almost never recommend referral fees. In my own personal opinion, it makes the relationship too transactional. Of course, you want to build a friendship with any one of your referral sources and your centers of influence. Sure, you can take them out to a ball game. But, typically, the process is all about educating them and putting yourself in such a position where you are a valuable resource to their clients.

James Pollard: You’re like a value add for them because they can go to their clients and say, “Hey, by the way, I know you’re going through this thing. You’re sold your business. You have a lot of cash now, or a little major liquidity event because I care about you.” I happen to know this guy or this girl, this financial advisor who can help you. You are now a value add for them. There’s no referral fees necessary or different things like that. I’m not saying it can’t be done, but most of the time in cases I’ve seen, it isn’t.

Bruce Sellery: It’d be like building a relationship with an accountant or a family lawyer or any of the other professional services that a client might come to you through.

James Pollard: Yeah. CPAs are numero uno. That’s like the number one that I recommend. financial advisor you start with. They’re perhaps the most important because the CPAs are one of the most trusted professions in the country. financial advisors were better served to have a relationship with a CPA who can again be the value add for their clients, and the financial advisor can be the value add for the CPA’s clients.

James Pollard: Now the only caveat is that CPAs tend to get, for lack of a better word, pitch very, very often. I mean I’ve done surveys with CPAs. I did one last year in July, I think. I had CPAs told me that they got between five and seven every two weeks. That was like the average. This is in a major city, Los Angeles, Chicago, New York. I’m sure for a smaller town, it’s going to be a little less.

James Pollard: But for a major city, I mean they’ve got financial advisors banging on the door all the time. You’ve got to stand apart. You have to stand out in some way. One of the easiest ways to tie it back is to have a clearly defined target market where you can go to the CPA and rather than saying something like, “Hey, I’m a financial advisor and we’re going to work together and we’re going to swap clients, or we’re going to have a great time.”

James Pollard: You say, “Hey, I’m not interested in necessarily doing a client who are doing all the other stuff that everyone else banging on your door wants to do.” I’m someone who specializes in working with teachers. It’s just if you have any teachers, I would like to form a relationship with you whether or not you have them. Maybe, you’ll have them eventually. We’re going to take some time together and build a relationship because, on average, it takes about 18 months to two years for the very first referral to come from a CPA.

Bruce Sellery: Wow.

James Pollard: This is not an overnight thing.

Bruce Sellery: How do you recommend people find their niche? Is it a top-down market assessment or is it bottoms up? You look at your roster and you think, “Geez, these are clients that I like to work with. These are clients that I am particularly effective with. I should get more of these types of people. What’s the best approach or is it a hybrid?

James Pollard: There are multiple different approaches. It really depends on the financial advisor. I’ve had financial advisors who both parents were teachers. I mean this financial advisor is just out of college. I mean he’s never really had an occupation that can set him up for success. For example, a lot of financial advisors in their 40s or 50s may have been an engineer in their previous career or they may have been an attorney. That is obvious.

James Pollard: But this guy, both of his parents were teachers, and they knew a lot of people in the teacher’s community. I think they wrote for a teacher blog or teacher magazine, and I think that he did something with that. He had introductions that no one else had. Because these were his parents, he was passionate about it. He knew stuff that no one else knew, and he had a unique position because now he had the story that he could tell with his prospects that, “Hey, both my parents were teachers. I have a tremendous respect for the profession even though I’ve never been a teacher myself.” It’s not that big of a deal to clients because he’s never been a teacher himself. It’s just that he knows his stuff and he’s specializing, so that works.

Bruce Sellery: It’s one thing to say that you focus on a niche. How do you ensure that your practice is actually better at serving that niche? How do you really, really understand it? I mean. You’re the actor cliché. I’m not a doctor, but I play one on TV.

James Pollard: Yeah, right. Well, there’s no shortcut. I mean, there is no quick and easy tip that I can give you. It just takes work. I mean, specialization is key. You have to study. You have to work with these clients. You have to get down and dirty, know what they’re going through, look at their situation. It takes time. There’s really nothing that you can do to shortcut the process.

Bruce Sellery: What do you do when a client with $1 million in assets under management, like $1 million to transfer over your book shows up on your door but is absolutely most definitely not in your niche.

James Pollard: You turn them away. It’s funny that you asked this and I know people are going to be like, “Oh my God.” He said, “Turn them away.” I get it. Actually, I’m putting together a little project now and I just got done writing for it this morning. One of the things I wrote about was the compatibility of different personality types.

James Pollard: Now this may seem like I’m about to go off on a tangent, but this will answer the question. It’ll make a lot of sense. If you’ve never taken the Myers Briggs personality test or the 16 personalities test … I believe, that you should take them. The reason is this. Once you know your personality, then you can do a quick online search and you can look for the compatibility of different personality types with your own.

James Pollard: For example, if you’re extroverted, there’s an overwhelming response from these personality tests that you are most compatible with an introvert. This idea is directly applicable to business because if you try to build a relationship and maintain a relationship with someone you are not inherently compatible with, and I don’t mean romantically, but the idea applies, then you’re going to have a bad time.

James Pollard: Financial advisors are already stressed out enough. I mean it’s one of the most stressed-out professions in the world, and they don’t need to add that to the mix. If the $1-million client happens to mesh with you and you jive with him or her and you really can get along, hey, I would consider it. But other than that, if there’s any sign whatsoever that this person is going to spell trouble for you, I wouldn’t touch it with a 10-foot pole.

Bruce Sellery: Do you manage a client out if they don’t fit your niche? Do you manage them out? They’ve been with you for a while and you’re like, “No. I’m really focused on doctors now. Goodbye.”

James Pollard: Well, it’s not as cut and dry as that, but the short answer is yes. Absolutely. I know this scares the pants off a lot of advisors, but you have to look at it from a long-term perspective. I mean, if you’re only going to be in the business another one or two years, hey, do what you want, more power to you.

James Pollard: But when you focus in on a target market and you go to build your business and you put marketing collateral together, that is all about the target market, you’re helping them. You’re adding value. You’re building a machine that’s going to work for you whether you’re working, sleeping on vacation. This thing is just building for you.

James Pollard: The financial advisor who refuses to take that cut to move down a little bit may only increase his or her income. Just as an example, just to put this out here, just say like 10 or 20% over the next few years, but the financial advisor who takes it down 20% because the people who don’t fit their niche, when they build that marketing collateral, when they build that machine, when they make it known that they have a specialty and they worked at, it’s not out of the question to double or triple the income in the next five years because it makes everything easier.

James Pollard: Referrals start to be way easier. You can get speaking gigs easier. You can do a webinar that’s targeted. Your ad cost goes way down and the machine just works.

Bruce Sellery: Just before we go here, what are the top two or three things people should look at when it comes to marketing or even more broadly client experience so that they are speaking in a way that their niche can hear them? I’m thinking about somebody who’s focused on senior leaders in technology. They might not need a foosball machine in their office, but they should have some exposed bracketing and beams versus a traditional corporate office complex.

James Pollard: Sure. The two things that you should focus on, and again, the master’s practice, the basics. These are the basics. You want to focus on attraction and repulsion. One of the single-most effective things a financial advisor can do in his or her marketing is to call out the target market on a website and the direct mail and the seminars, whatever.

James Pollard: Make sure you call it out. Also, you want to repel a certain person. Now, I know I talked about the romantic compatibility of personality types and many use another romantic example. Back in the olden times, people used to use personal ads and hopefully your audience knows what I’m talking about. But if not, the personal ads, people used to put advertisements in newspapers looking for a romantic partner. It might read something like this. It might say single white male looking for single white female, 25 to 35 must enjoy walking on the beach.

Bruce Sellery: I was hoping you’d use the cliché.

James Pollard: No cliché. It says, “No smokers.” Simply by putting that in his “marketing” he’s now going to attract a particular type of person. He’s also going to repel the smokers. The same idea applies with financial advisor’s marketing. You call out your target market and repel people who are not a good fit for you. If you’re someone whose investment philosophy is, don’t lose money, you want to say, “Hey, this is not for people who want to take on risk. This is not for aggressive investors. Please stay away.” The machine, it makes everything easier.

Bruce Sellery: One last question. What are the pitfalls? 30 seconds or less, what are the pitfalls for this approach?

James Pollard: The pitfalls to this approach is that it takes longer. You may start to doubt yourself if you don’t have the willpower for this to stick it out. If you don’t have a long-term game plan, hey, don’t do it. But if you’re willing to put in the work, if you’re willing to wait and you have faith in yourself in this approach, it’ll work like nothing else.

Bruce Sellery: James, thanks for your time today.

James Pollard: Thank you.

Bruce Sellery: James Pollard, the advisor coach. He was here to talk to us about knowing your niche. Get a group of seasoned financial advisors together and you can learn a lot. We’re going to bring you a quick tip on each episode to help you build a prosperous practice. Here’s the first.

Bev Moir: My name is Bev Moir. I focus on women and couples who are preparing for retirement. My tip is about seminars as a prospecting approach. How it works is I invite clients, prospects, centers of influence and guests to seminars on topics about life transitions such as legacy planning or advanced wellness planning. What I’ve learned that works is to keep the seminars practical and informative with ample opportunity for questions and comment.

Bev Moir: One thing that I learned that didn’t work was to invite too many attendees. I keep the seminars small. 10 to 15 is ideal. That way, I can mingle with guests and they feel comfortable asking questions. The impact on my business has been slow but effective. I broadened my visibility in my community. I provided good service to existing clients while meeting potential new ones in a relaxed setting.

Bruce Sellery: That’s episode number one of Prosper, at the financial advisors’ podcast from Advisor’s Edge. We would love to hear your comments, questions, and topic ideas. You can kick it old school and send an email to news.advisor@tc.tc or connect on any of our very social social media platforms. Twitter is at @advisorca, Facebook Advisor’s Edge Magazine, and LinkedIn is advisor.ca. One more thing, click that little subscribe button.

Bruce Sellery: The next episode of the Prosper podcast is delivered automatically to your device and maybe give us a review. Thanks for listening. Now go out and prosper.