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Niche marketing: Leading the way for lawyers

How to specialize your practices and become the go-to financial expert for your audience

There are thousands of financial professionals out there who know the basics of retirement savings, why would someone work with you?

With niche marketing, you can use fewer resources at a lower cost to build stronger relationships with greater referrals. What’s not to like?

The only con with niche marketing is that you really need to know what you’re talking about.

If you claim to be the Twin Cities’ go-to financial pros for physicians, you better have the ultra-relevant resources and market expertise to back your claim.

In our latest Advanced Advisor Insights email, we talked to three advisors who narrowed their markets to see exponential growth, including Tom Haunty:

Tom Haunty, CFP®, RHU, REBC, ChFC, AIF®

Tom is the co-founder of North Star’s Law Division, and his success with attorneys has led to his status as a titan North Star advisor, finishing in the top two producing professionals at North Star since 2011 and as Advisor of the Year in 2020.

When did you decide to market specifically to this group of people?

Back in the beginning part of my practice (the 1980s), I began working with attorneys as part of helping my clients with their finances. I saw that they were very smart but often unable to do for themselves what they knew they should do with their finances and what they often suggested to their clients.

This is where I learned the truth of the saying, “The cobbler’s kids had holes in their shoes.”

So, I started to write about it for a local law newsletter and sent some of those articles with a letter to the ABA Journal. I politely challenged them with not writing enough about attorney-specific finances, and they ended up hiring me to help them write articles about lawyers and their financial issues.

Those articles greatly increased my credibility and got me involved in doing seminars at ABA (American Bar Association) Young Lawyers Division conventions all over the U.S. That seminar turned into a book Real Life Financial Planning for Young Lawyers.

What specific financial needs does this group have that you are prepared to address?

The need was to help them get through financial procrastination to be an advocate for themselves like they advocate for their clients. They offer many arguments for why they don’t plan, and I became very good at overcoming their objections.

I was very politely persistent and consistent in pursuing them.

I also liked to get them to refer me to their clients and to do work for their firms, like their group insurance, buy-sell life insurance, and 401(k)s.

Any roadblocks in your journey? How did you overcome these?

One challenge is they don’t always make a lot of money in the first two stages of their careers, but they often do later on, and they do have influence to refer. When I did get referrals from them, they also were many different types of financial cases. I liked that as it gave me an eclectic client base that was interesting to work with. I enjoy the variety.

Another challenge was getting clients all over the U.S., which was not very interesting to me back then with my young family. Many of my local attorneys also had career changes, yet I kept working with them, and it opened doors for me to work with the organizations they ran.

Any advice for others looking to enter this niche market?

A lot of marketing to attorneys is having clear concepts of their needs and being passionate about ways you can solve them. It’s a slower, long-term process so I usually suggest financial professionals work with attorneys along with other client acquisition strategies. Building trust and competence with them takes time. Often the big rewards in our business come later if you don’t give up being a consistent, active marketer.

Tom is an investment advisor representative of Cetera Advisor Networks, LLC.

Financial professionals do not provide tax, legal, or real estate advice, and this should not be considered as such. Please consult with a tax, legal or real estate professional for advice regarding your specific situation.