To Niche or Not to Niche

niche strategyThe decision to niche is counter-intuitive. Choosing to focus on a specific population seems constrictive, like it narrows your choice. You quietly wonder, How can a niche actually grow my firm?

That’s true for accounting professionals who lack a plan.

I firmly believe that attorneys crave to have someone take their bookkeeping off their hands. The decision to specialize actually sharpens your focus rather than narrow your reach.

The common question, where do I find attorneys who want to work with me, can now be answered.

5 Tips to Build a Sound Niche Strategy

If you lay awake at night wondering where to find new clients in the legal profession, then you’re not alone.

Rather than attempting to be all things to all people, you deserve to work with clients who fully appreciate what you offer. If that sounds appealing, then follow these five essential steps.

  1. Be Specific About Your Niche

Either you’re creating clarity or you’re causing confusion. Specialists know exactly who they serve, what they do and how they help their clients. Whereas, generalists serve a wide variety of professions.

The majority of attorneys specialize rather than practice general law. As a result, they’ll feel more confident with an accounting professional that’s chosen to specialize too.

Basically, they’re seeking experts. Generalists may offer exceptional services. However, they are rarely positioned as experts. The perception is that their knowledge lacks depth about the nuances within the legal profession.

Referrals from associates or surfing the internet are the two most popular ways to find an accounting professional. Within 7 seconds that attorney is either going to read more or keep searching. That’s why you want your website to stand out from the masses.

Either you’re creating clarity or you’re causing confusion. Specialists know exactly who they serve, what they do and how they help their clients. Read the full post. #getpaidwhatyoureworth Click To Tweet

By the way, websites with a long grocery list of specialties rarely hold my attention. That’s especially true when I’m seeking a subject matter expert rather than a jack-of-all-trades. The only exception is when someone’s been referred to me by someone I trust.

Attorneys seek accounting professionals who clearly state how they will make things easier for them. Your niche strategy has you:

  • Speak directly to attorneys.
  • Become keenly aware of their specific needs.
  • Explain how you solve their biggest challenges.

Test your messaging. Does it spark curiosity to know more about you and what you do? Or repels them, causing them to quickly bounce away and continue searching?

  1. Emphasize the Solution

niche marketBe crystal clear about the solution you offer. Clearly describe what you do and the outcome they can expect. Specifics are better than generalities. Especially if you want them to contact you for an initial consult.

Sarah is an accounting professional who guides attorneys from confusion to clarity. Some of her clients have been stuffing all their receipts into shoe boxes. Tracking money extends beyond their comfort zone. However, the stress of not knowing their finances is now interfering with their growth.

They’re highly sensitive that their finances are a mess. Since Sarah understands their hidden fears, she quickly eases their biggest worries. Their bodies relax as she explains her process in plain English. By the time she asks her final question, they’re eager to sign on and get this bookkeeping challenge resolved.

Sarah realizes they’re already overwhelmed. So she spares them all the details about how she cleans things up. Instead, she shares some stories about similar work she’s done for other attorneys. This comforts them that they’re not the only one like this.

Of course, attorneys talk with each other. Sarah’s clients are telling their associates about her work. They’re no longer experiencing shame about their messed up finances.

What about you? What problems do you solve?

  1. Know Your Strengths

What specific skills or talents do you offer? Consider the parts of your work that you enjoy most and that separates you from other firms. My clients affectionately call this their superpowers.

School teaches you to excel at a wide range of subjects. But higher education encourages you to choose one specialty. Firms that specialize can charge higher fees.

A lot of people will give you well-meaning advice. Listening to them, and second-guessing yourself, is detrimental for your firm and will extinguish your passion. It’s your business; you get to make the rules. Remember to set it up around your strengths rather than someone else’s.

  • Strength. Identify your superpower.
  • Fun. Make a list of the things you enjoy most. Consider which things you do easily and would be thrilled to do these all day, every day.
  • Benefits. Then figure out what benefits attorneys receive from your services.
  • Educate. Finally, educate attorneys about the specific benefits you offer which are related to your strengths.

The magic happens when you decide to lead with your strengths. Imagine your clients are lost in a dark cave. Then you show up with a flashlight, illuminating the path forward. I want you to be the one that’s guiding them into the light.

  1. Seek, Find, and Connect With Clients

Most accounting professionals dream of magically being discovered by their ideal clients.

Your clients need to know you exist. Don’t wait for them to find you. Create a marketing strategy that attracts them to you. Read the full post. #getpaidwhatyoureworth Click To Tweet

If so, then attorneys need to know you exist. Don’t wait for them to find you. Make it easy for them. Create a marketing strategy that attracts them to you.

  • Research. Find out where attorneys hang out, both online and locally.
  • Join. Join communities, like civic organizations or country clubs, where attorneys spend time.
  • Step up. Get involved in those communities. Volunteer at a not-for-profit, accept a board position or step into a leadership role.
  • Connect. Get better acquainted by setting up coffee dates.
  • Schedule. Some of those attorneys will ask how you can help them. That’s when you offer a complimentary strategy session.

You don’t need to attend every networking event. You’ll simply exhaust yourself. That’s the mistake I initially made.

I decided to go on a network meeting diet. Since I work specifically with accounting professionals, I cut back to one or two specific groups that seemed like a good fit for me. That was a lot more manageable.

There’s a reason why networking matters. You gain visibility. Attorneys start to know you and what you offer.  Your consistency and follow through leads to credibility. That develops trust. Finally, consistency leads to profitability. You develop referral partnerships and attract new clients.

  1. Be Strategic

niche strategyYour marketing strategy develops over time. Through trial and error you’ll discover which activities deliver the best ROI. Continue to review and re-evaluate as you gain insight from experience.

Your niche strategy positions you as the go-to professional. It’s designed to develop your niche, offer targeted services and expand your business.

  • Be clear about your strengths. As an accounting professional, you possess a wide variety of skills. Set time aside to figure out how your strengths benefit attorneys.
  • Picture your ideal client. Be selective and cherry pick your clients. Attorneys who want to negotiate your fees or expect services beyond your specialty are not ideal clients. Stay true to your strengths and seek out clients you enjoy working with.
  • Create an avatar. This is also known as a client persona. It’s similar to Disney developing a character for their next animated movie. Describe your ideal client. Give that avatar a name, then fill in the details about that attorney’s life. Identify her exact challenges and how that impacts her. Figure out how she describes those things so you’re using her words instead of accounting terms. Then create all of your messaging and marketing campaigns for your specific avatar. Although it takes a little effort, it’s well worth it.
  • Remain flexible. Small accounting firms can easily pivot; whereas, change is more complicated for an enterprise business. Continually adjust as your client needs adjust. Explore ways to expand your skills. Plus, focus your time on those activities that get the best results. As you grow, start to optimize your time by delegating specific tasks that are below your pay grade.

Client Success Leads to More Clients

A solid niche strategy attracts ideal clients and increases your income. Proactively market and educate attorneys about the solution you offer. As a business coach to accounting professionals, I understand how matching your service to clients can be a challenge. If you are struggling to define your specialty and clarify your goals, then let’s talk. Schedule a complimentary private strategy session now.