Advisor Adam Henry shares how he’s positioning himself to serve the professional sports crowd
Adam Henry is a former hockey player from the Western Hockey League and a new financial advisor with Harbourfront Wealth Management in Winnipeg, but he’s already making client inroads with the professional hockey crowd as they now comprise about one-quarter of his clients. When he sat down with Wealth Professional, he was happy to share five tips he’s learned – a lot from his team – to build a niche market he loves.
- Define your niche: “The most important thing is to figure out what you know well and enjoy,” said Henry.
After he became a financial advisor, Henry decided he’d like to help hockey players because he’d played on four teams in the Western Hockey League before becoming a financial advisor, and that’s what he loved.
“I’ve always loved hockey, and that was just a world that I’m comfortable in and familiar with. I know how hockey players are and what they look for, what they need and the types of relationships they create. That’s just a world I came from, so that was an easy decision for me.”
He recommended other define their passion to also find their niche.
“If you’re thinking about getting started in the financial advising business, all the research I’ve done and my experience now doing it for about a year and a half is having a niche is the way to go if you want to have success and be excited about going to work every day,” he said.
“I’d like to imagine everyone has something that provides them with the passion or energy to get through life,” Henry added, “but if there isn’t anything, then become extremely good at being a generalist, because there's a lot of advisors out there who are doing that.”
- Become a specialist in your niche: The next step is to position yourself as the go-to person for your niche.
“I know hockey players’ worlds and how they act and talk and communicate with each other and what they're looking for, but I didn’t know anything about what a hockey player needs from a financial advice perspective,” said Henry. “I knew the basics of how the stock market and investing work, but I needed to become a specialist. I needed to be the person that has all the answers to the questions that players have.”
“You can't just call yourself a specialist, you actually need to become one,” he said. “So that was the next thing: to start learning.”
Henry talked to people already specializing in the field, picking up the phone to seek mentors who’d done it and asking for their advice. He read as much as he could and started figuring out the most important things players needed to know and slowly began to specialize. He searched online for information, but also turned to his network from playing in the league and at college, so he asked coaches, trainers, and his agent to learn more about what players were looking for and the answers they needed.
“Every day, I’m learning more,” he said.
- Approach clients before you know everything: “Don't wait until you're a specialist before you get in front of someone and start making phone calls,” said Henry, “because if you wait until you know everything, you're going to be waiting forever. That’s paralysis by analysis, and if you’re just sitting there researching and not growing your business, you won't survive.”
He knew the best way to learn was to do it, so started calling players to explain what he did and see what they needed, so he could figure out how to help them. “Once you start building those relationships, you're going to start learning what's important for these players and helping them out,” he said.
- Be honest and upfront: While industry rules say he can’t call himself a specialist because he doesn’t have specific credentials, Henry’s upfront with players that he’s relatively new and may not have all the answers off the top of his head, but can figure them out. “I tell them I can learn for you and help you ask the questions and work with you,” he said, adding his honesty shows he’s not trying to be like a “snake oil salesman”.
“Just work on creating that relationship,” he said. “Tell them ‘if we work together, you have me at your disposal and I can do things for you that maybe the person who’s 30 years into the industry won’t have the energy or desire to do, so I’m going to get to work and work for you.’”
Taking this approach has also helped him learn by doing because when players ask him a question, he finds out the answer and has it the next time he needs it, and then the knowledge he gains snowballs.
- Align your marketing and specialty: Ensure all your communication methods point to your speciality.
“Since day one. I've never put out a piece of marketing material that wasn't directed specifically toward my niche,” said Henry. “So, whether it’s my blog, or an interview I’m doing on the radio, or the junior hockey magazine, everything that has come out that's been a marketing piece has been tailored specifically to my target market as opposed to just general financial advice for anyone.”
Henry’s a master at that. Check his website, and you’ll find his hockey career and stats as players want to know where others played and how good they were. See him on the local radio or in Junior Hockey Magazine, and you’ll see him talking hockey because he seeks those opportunities. Read his blog and you’ll find articles about the NHL pension plan. That’s something players want to know about, so he read the NHL’s collective bargaining agreement, then wrote the material so a 21-year-old hockey player could understand it.
“My goal with the blog is always just to simplify something that's complicated so players can get some education,” said Henry. “If they learn something from it, that's great. If they feel they need more help understanding it, then I always encourage them to reach out.”