Endless referrals: Four steps to build a rich marketing nicheArticle added by Mona Grizio Sand on April 6, 2012
Ranked: #315 (171 pts)
Developing a strong, targeted marketing niche can be an incredibly effective way to generate endless referrals. To create one takes time and effort but the rewards you reap will be worth it.
To begin with, individuals in a niche typically have at least three common traits. They have a shared culture, actively communicate with each other, and share similar financial needs. That’s why if you can offer a strong value proposition, positive word-of-mouth about what you do could spread quickly.
So, how do you create a niche?
When developing a niche, the more specific you can be the better. For example, instead of saying you want to target corporate executives in general, a better, more focused niche would be to target a specific company’s executives in particular.
Case study: Meet Jim
I previously worked with an agent we will call Jim* for purposes of this example that had a client that worked at Home Depot corporate. Over the course of four years, that one client introduced Jim to 20+ new opportunities within the Home Depot network. Not only did the client refer other co-workers to Jim, but the client’s CPA, whom Jim was introduced to after the relationship, then started referring her Home Depot clients to him as well.
Jim’s story is great, but it’s also something each agent can replicate today on some level.
Four steps to help you build and cultivate your own niche
Finding and creating your own niche isn’t something that will develop overnight, but if you follow these steps, you’ll get off on the right foot:
Step one: Discover your own specific niche.
Look at your client list to see if you have any existing relationships with target markets you’d like to establish. For Jim, he happened to have a client who provided an “in” within Home Depot. Other niches could be owners of auto shops, Coca-Cola employees, nurses in a certain county, divorce attorneys, or professional athletes.
It’s helpful if you have at least one client within the niche to use as a launching point, but if you don’t have one right now, don’t
As you gain new clients, learn to ask more targeted questions about their interests and hobbies. For example, perhaps you discover that a new client owns and rides motorcycles regularly with his Sunday riding club. When it comes to niche marketing, the old saying “birds of a feather, flock together” couldn’t be truer.
Step two: Know the needs of your niche.
Jim was acutely aware of the retirement programs and benefits of Home Depot employees. He was knowledgeable about their financial needs and understood both the challenges and opportunities that exist within the Home Depot environment. To stay abreast of current news, I was impressed to hear that Jim had set up a Google alert on his computer to notify him whenever there was news about Home Depot. If it was happening at Home Depot, Jim knew about it.
Step three: Ask for introductions.
After meeting with any Home Depot client, Jim had a well-focused strategy where he would ask for a minimum of two Home Depot employee introductions. He equipped the client with two brochures and business cards to distribute back at the office to these referrals. Then to make sure the client followed through, he would ask if he could follow up with the referrals within the week to see if they’d like to schedule a 15-minute get acquainted phone call.
He didn’t hesitate to ask for the referral because he was confident in the value he could provide and the specific needs he could address for this market. Even if the referral isn’t ready to meet, he would ask if it’s okay to include them on his email newsletter list and invite them to future seminars.
Step four: Host exclusive events for your niche.
To show appreciation to his growing niche, Jim hosted a dinner exclusively for his Home Depot clients and prospects. In turn, he asked each of them to invite either a current or retired Home Depot colleague to join them for the event. Jim said it was rewarding to see retired employees re-connect with some of their past co-workers.
Finally, Jim was introduced to a CPA who gets about 20 percent of her business from Home Depot employees. Since then, Jim has hosted successful joint events with the CPA to help broaden his reach even more.
Building a strong niche can be both profitable and effective. Evaluate your client list and determine if you have potential niches you’d like to explore. If not, find a niche that interests you and pursue it.
*Although the case study is real, Jim is not an actual GamePlan agent.
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