Financial planners and advisors are always looking for ways to differentiate themselves and what they do from the thousands of others who pretty much do the same things.
It used to be that the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ certification was enough to set apart the highest-level professionals. However, there are currently over 175,000 CFP® professionals worldwide (as of year-end 2017, per the Financial Planning Standards Board), including over 80,000 in the United States!
So, as a CFP® professional, you have a lot of competition.
What else can you do to enhance your reputation for expertise in your community? Look for another certification program? Obviously, there are many from which to choose. Some of the best known (and best regarded) are CPA, CFA, and CIMA. However, there is still a lot of competition out there for practicing financial planners and advisors who have those certifications.
Here’s a suggestion: why not formalize your own area(s) of expertise by developing a plan and strategy for how you want to position yourself and your practice? Here are some simple steps to do that:
- In what area or areas of financial advising and planning are you particularly strong in both knowledge and experience?
- What do you need to do to expand your knowledge and experience so that clients and others would see you as an expert?
- What will you do and what resources will you provide that will enable clients to recognize and trust your expertise in this area?
- How will you describe and promote your specialty?
Planning specialties can be based on individual niche markets or particular planning needs. Here are some examples to help you think about how you might define your own area of specialization:
- Family life transition planning
- Financial planning for widows
- Retirement lifestyle planning
- Charitable giving strategies
- Planning for special needs family members
What is your specialty? Become the advisor or planner in your area who is recognized as the most skilled, the most experienced, and the most trusted.