What Do Hugely Successful Firms Have In Common With Kleenex? How Advisors Gain From Doing One Thing Great
Created: Wednesday, 08 February 2012 11:03
When you need to blow your nose, what do you reach for?
A Kleenex. of course. But that's not what it is.
It is a facial tissue. So, why don't we call it that?
Because the brand Kleenex has done such a superior job of identifying itself with the solution a facial tissue represents. We all have come to call the solution by the brand name.
Similarly, when you want canned fruit embedded in a wobbly green mold, what do you look for? Jell-O. And, if you say Jell-O to anyone, they will know instantly what you're talking about, even though it is actually instant gelatin.
When you buy Scotch tape, Google someone or use Xerox as a verb, it's the same thiing.
What does it have to do with financial advice?
The idea of your brand being identified
with a particular solution or experience can build your firm the same way it helped these consumer products achieve market dominance.
Let me tell you about Rob Brown, an attorney who specializes in employee stock ownership plans. That is all he does.
While his firm has the typical "Four Partners Names, LLP," the website at Rob Bown's firm is esopplus.com. Ron Brown has a national reputation for counseling business owners on employee ownership, and not just as a succession strategy.
Perhaps most impressive, partners at large regional and national law firms unhesitatingly refer clients to Brown when the topic of employee ownership comes up. (Lawyers usually refer to specialists within their own firm.)
I see many financial advisors do this all wrong. They promote their expertise and work with business owners, for example. But all of these advisors professing to be specilists in business owners work with lots of other types of clients, including corporate executives, doctors, and retirees. They have expertise in everyone!
None will accomplish what Rob has done, however. They will not be able to develop even a local reputation as the go-to advisor for small business owners.
That's because, they "specialize" in everyone. Therefore, they really specialize in no one.
You may not be able to become the Kleenex of financial advisors. But following Rob Brown's example, you can become the one person everyone thinks of as the solution to a particular problem.
In a large portion of the financial and legal community in the Northeast, Rob Brown now owns the real estate on everyone's brain labeled ESOP. And when a business-owner client mentions employee ownership to their attorney or wealth advisor, there is a good chance Rob Brown's phone will ring.
What place in your clients' minds do you want to own?
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