Don't be everything to everyone — specialize

By Sandy Schussel

Sandy Schussel, LLC


To whom are you offering and selling your services?

The wrong answer to this question is, "I offer my services to everyone." Financial advisors and coaches who tell me that they help all people reach all of their personal, career or financial goals do not understand a critical truth about 21st century business: Clients want to work with experts and specialists.

If you're everything to everyone, you won't be hired. Instead, become a specialist.

If I want an insurance salesperson to handle an estate matter, and the cost isn't significantly different to me, would I prefer an "estate planning specialist" or a professional who happens to sell life insurance? The answer should be obvious. Both advisors may have the same training and background — they may even have the same experience in estate planning — but one has narrowed his target and focus to make himself more appealing to me at this juncture.

"But if I limit myself to my senior market," Tina, a financial advisor, complained when I introduced this concept to the group at a recent seminar, "I'll turn off some younger people who might have wanted to use my services."

Limit your target, not your services.

I asked Tina to trust in what I was saying and give it a try. A week later she called me, excited by her results. "Sandy, I tried what you suggested at a party last week and it worked, but I think it worked backwards," she exclaimed. "I told a guy in his mid-30s that I work with single older women who are worried about having enough money for retirement, and he asked me if I would make an exception and help him out, too. And then he hired me!"

"Tina, that isn't backwards," I told her. "That's exactly how it works."


Being a specialist not only attracts your ideal client, but it also attracts people from other walks of life.

Take me, for example. I offer my assistance to professionals selling a service who want more clients. But when someone who does not fit my marketing profile asks for my help, I only refuse him or her if I don't want to work with that person at that moment (for any reason), or if I think there might be someone else who could do a better job with the particular issue at hand. So, along with owners of service businesses and their sales and marketing teams, I coach managers who are climbing the corporate ladder and IT professionals who are looking for a permanent position. Not long ago, I even worked with an entertainer who was breaking into her newly chosen field after closing out her first career. I'm an expert in the problems of people who are struggling to grow their businesses or practices, but I'll help anyone who is serious about making his or her life or career better.