Practice Differentiation: Provide a Benefit to a Select Audience

Fri, 12/09/2022 - 08:00

Provide a Benefit to a Select Audience

The purpose of this series of articles is to make a persuasive argument — based on data and experience — that advisors who differentiate their practices in a meaningful way from competitors are more successful in engaging and retaining high-value clients.

So far, we’ve examined several methods or approaches to differentiation.

In this article we introduce two additional practice differentiators that can be applied together:

#1: Focus, understand, and represent a niche audience; example: woman-owned construction companies.

#2: Specialize in creating a highly beneficial result for a specific audience; example:  help political candidates win elections or minority-owned construction companies acquire more government contracts.

Combining these similar differentiators supercharges your ability to attract, engage, and represent successful business owners.

Four Challenges

This two-pronged differentiation approach is not without its challenges. 

Advisors must:

1.     Gain an understanding of what their target audience — in this case successful business owners — want and need.

2.     Use specific tools and strategies other advisors don’t possess or discuss, thus becoming their clients’ go-to advisor for addressing those wants and needs.

3.     Make their target audiences and associated advisors aware of their ability and desire to help.

4.     Be able to create a very beneficial result.


Take the First Steps

If you have not yet combined these differentiators, how do you begin? As a faithful reader of this blog, you will not be surprised when we suggest that you focus on helping owners achieve a highly beneficial outcome: the successful exit of their business on their terms. In other words, become an Exit Planner.

Step 1: Focus on the goal of a particular target audience.

Successful business owners are your target audience and helping them exit their companies successfully is their ultimate goal. Your ability to design and implement their successful exit differentiates you from their current advisors.

At some point in the life of every owner, their interest or need to grow business value, develop a plan to exit and actually exit becomes paramount. At these points, owners need to turn to advisors trained in Exit Planning to achieve these outcomes because these Exit Planners have the specific tools and strategies other advisors simply don’t have.

Step 2: Provide a highly beneficial result: a successful business exit.

What outcome is more meaningful — financially and personally — to owners than providing them the means to achieve the legacy and lifestyle of their dreams? Via Exit Planning, owners leave their businesses when they want, for the money they need, to the person(s) they choose.

Do you know any advisors who successfully execute this crucial task? You can be that advisor.


Build Your Core Service and Improve Your Ability to Refer to Other Advisors

Differentiating your practice by an ability to help owners achieve their ultimate goal — exiting their companies successfully — has the added benefit of positioning your core expertise as a needed service. For example, owners considering an exit must first assess their financial resources (which includes the value of their companies) and set their financial goals to identify any resource gap. That step alone involves profession-specific products such as financial planning, business valuation and tax planning. 

Subsequent Exit Planning steps require buy-sell agreement design and funding, estate planning, etc. Advisors skilled in Exit Planning are positioned to 

1) provide their own services and products, and 

2) refer their clients to other advisors who can provide their services and products.


Make your target audience and associated advisors aware of your practice differentiation and your ability and desire to help.

As might be evident from our past blogs and other communications, your skills, experience and your differentiated practice and representation are of little benefit unless your customer base is aware of your capabilities and desire to help. BEI provides our members with hundreds of advisor-branded newsletters, white papers, presentations and more to inform their target audiences of their Exit Planning expertise. 


  • The purpose of differentiation is to make potential clients aware of and retain you because of your ability to provide a specialized expertise or other difference not offered by existing advisors. 
  • Two effective differentiators are providing a highly beneficial result to owners and focusing your practice on a specific target audience.  
  • Differentiating your practice by creating and executing Exit Plans expands rather than limits your ability to grow your practice and to make a difference in the lives and well-being of your target clients: successful business owners.
  •  As an Exit Planner, you provide greater benefits, insights, and results for clients than your competitors who lack Exit Planning training.


If you are interested in training or a BEI license to aid and support your venture to differentiate with Exit Planning, click the link below to view our best deals of the year on Exit Planning course! 

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