The Go-To Financial Advisor in His Niche
Top financial advisors recognize an important idea: You can’t serve everyone you meet if you want to become extremely successful.
To differentiate yourself from the pack, it can be better to focus on serving a niche—a select group of clients to whom you can deliver tremendous value,
Case in point: Jesse Abercrombie, a financial advisor with Edward Jones in Plano, Texas. Years ago, Abercrombie made the strategic decision to work with business owners in the commercial construction industry, with an emphasis on those considering a liquidity event. It’s a move that, in his own words, “gets better with each year.”
One big reason: The longer he works with this group, the more he becomes known among them as the go-to financial advisor who deeply understands their unique goals and needs. Abercrombie further strengthens that positioning by regularly delivering content to the members of his niche, as well as other professionals who work with them such as CPAs and mergers and acquisition specialists. “My content aimed at these business owners appears in 12 different construction magazines each month,” he says. “That branding creates awareness and reinforces to clients that they have their money at the right place.”
Abercrombie’s rock-solid reputation as a financial advisor who knows his clients’ needs and advocates for their best interests has enabled him to attract increasingly successful entrepreneurs—such as the owner of a $70 million firm who had no personal wealth invested outside of the business. Abercrombie helped him build a $15 million portfolio to serve as a safety net in case the company experiences a downturn.
His advice for financial advisors looking to focus on a particular cohort or market includes:
1. Become part of an organization that represents the industry. Joining a professional group associated with your niche creates opportunities to both learn more about the industry and meet the power players that niche. In Abercrombie’s case, he joined an association and eventually attracted business from its highly successful board members.
2. Become a thought leader. As noted, Abercrombie’s articles in trade journals gives him tremendous credibility in his niche. The key, he says, is to provide content that educates niche members about important topics related to their businesses and finances—not content that hard-sells or comes across like a marketing brochure.
3. Interview the influencers. To deepen his knowledge of the commercial construction business, Abercrombie conducted numerous interviews with the key movers and shakers in the industry—people who truly understand the challenges entrepreneurs in the business face and the type of wealth management guidance that could benefit them.
To ensure he adds tremendous value, Abercrombie engages each of his clients in a comprehensive discovery process. Rather than simply ask about clients’ assets and financial data, he goes deep—uncovering their values and goals, learning about the most important people in their lives, and getting to know their interests.
This approach not only builds and maintains clients’ trust in Abercrombie, but also empowers him to deliver an individualized experience to each client—one that consists of investment consulting, advanced planning in areas such as estate and tax planning, and the relationship management of clients’ entire team of financial professionals who serve them. “Our clients at all times understand our process and the value it brings,” notes Abercrombie. “By articulating that consistently, we set ourselves apart.”
His biggest advice to financial advisors is (not surprisingly) to serve a niche market. “Find your community and corner that market.”