by Tony Vidler
Who doesn’t want to be getting to the point where “ideal prospects call me” – and preferably continuously. Being so busy with new client opportunities that you just can’t handle them….So many incoming calls from ideal prospects in fact that we have to put our fees up just to control the demand.
It isn’t a pipe dream either…we see senior professionals where that is happening and the question which is inevitably asked by others is “how did they get to that point?”
There are several ways that professionals can find themselves in that position of course, from dominating a demographic niche in the market, or being positioned as “the expert” in a particular thing, through to having built such a strong brand position that they have secured top-of-mind-awareness in their target market. Regardless of which of these things is driving the income calls from those ideal prospects, they all have one thing in common, and that is the professional has secured the position of being the
One of the best business authors, and thinkers in professional services business development, was David Maister. In his brilliant book “The Trusted Adviser” (co-written with Charles Green and Robert Galford) he described the pathway as follows:
Maister was prescient in recognising the importance of “valuable resource” as one of the critical steps to becoming the professional whose phone rings continuously with ideal prospects wanting advice. It is more often than not the element which prevents professionals from achieving that ideal outcome of having more potential business than they have time to deal with.
Most professionals are excellent at putting in the time and effort to become subject matter experts, and equally, most professionals actively pursue or find themselves naturally drifting towards a strong specialty area where their expertise is acknowledged and their reputation is cemented. At this stage of their professional development the new business opportunities are excellent, and largely driven by strong word of mouth marketing, or centres of influence, as the reputation is strong.
Getting from “strong reputation” and “having a good stream of business opportunities” to “I’ll have to put my fees up to control the demand” is a significant step. The link is developing,and then providing, valuable resources which cement your expertise and reputation, and which extend your brand reach to wider audiences.
Relevant content and engagement with a large audience of potential future prospects is the missing ingredient for many professionals who want to go from “good” to “great”. The valuable resources delivered as a demonstration of expertise and an initial engagement mechanism with the target market is what propels the professional to “trusted adviser” status before prospects have even met or engaged with them, and tht is what generates the phone ringing off the hook.
This is no different really to the academics and medical professionals who do not achieve their nirvana until they have a publishing history which is accepted as insightful and deeply relevant to their peers. Their expertise and acceptance as being at the very top of their game often relies upon their ability to research, provide insight and thought leadership, and deliver that thinking to their audience. In their world that leads to their peers recommending them to prospective clients…and why can’t that be the same in financial services? I know some advisers where that is exactly what happens…virtually all of their considerable new business is driven out of recommendations from their peers or other professionals becuae they have established a position as an authority who is a trusted adviser.
To become the Trusted Adviser to your target market follow the advice of one of the best and develop (and then deliver) the valuable resources that will propel you from being a subject matter expert to THE Trusted Adviser.