In January we discussed the importance of determining your target market and provided a recommended strategy for completing the necessary analysis to help with the process.

In February, we discussed what to do with your legacy clients that you have determined no longer fit your current business model.

This month let’s discuss how to expand your target markets by LEVERAGING YOUR EXISTING TARGET MARKET RELATIONSHIPS.

One of the many benefits of developing a market focus is developing insightful industry knowledge and an understanding of the commonality that courses through the veins of your selected industries.

Most major metropolitan areas have a business journal that typically is published weekly. On an annual basis they publish the top 50 or 100 companies in a particular industry group in your geographic area. Let’s suppose one of your target markets is architectural firms. Can you research the previous year’s journal to access that information? Of course you can! It should provide the number of employees, previous year’s gross revenue, address, phone, CEO etc. You would make a copy of this listing and now you are armed with potential clients within your target market. So now what do you do?

Second, you would create a list of all of your existing architectural clients. The list would include the name, logo (in color), contact person and address in alphabetical order.

Now you are armed and ready. You would make appointments with all of your existing architectural clients with the express purpose of asking for their assistance. You would explain that you are interested in expanding your architectural target market and you need their help. You would share your existing target market client listing to demonstrate your focus. The question is, who do they know on the listing that they believe is worthy of pursuit i.e. size, location, culture? You’re looking for the referral and requesting your client provide a verbal or electronic introduction. You may want to provide some suggesting scripting that the client can modify.

With the referral and introduction obtained, your task is now to arrange a meeting. Ideally, your follow up call should be as soon as possible after your client has initiated the introduction.

Your style will dictate what takes place at the initial meeting with your new prospective client. One suggestion would be to use your newly developed client listing as a credibility builder. It is amazing what an ice breaker this can be. Typically, they will scan your client list, stopping at clients they are friends with, compete with or otherwise know of within their industry. It sends the message that you are truly an expert in working with architectural firms (or whatever your target markets happen to be). This is a great confidence builder and a way to start a meeting with prospective clients on a very positive basis. The rest is up to you!

Is it nice to niche? That is for you to decide. It would seem advantageous if you want to become an industry expert, be better able to leverage your existing relationships and improve your closing ratio.

Torelli, CLU, ChFC, MSFS is president of Newport Beach, Calif.-based e3 Financial.


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