Niche Can Help You Survive Tough Times

Herald Tribune:

Mortgage brokers generally work on commission and rarely get paid salaries.

Yet mortgage broker Jack Sandelman has managed to survive — even thrive. “I’ve become sort of a de facto specialist on foreign national purchase transactions, all to Canadians.”

Specializing in the financing of foreigners who buy homes in Southwest Florida is the magic that Sandelman is using to originate mortgage loans while his competition is foundering. Specialization can also be the technique to help you increase your sales regardless of what industry you are in.

Some others call it “nichemanship,” the art of setting yourself apart from your competitors. It requires you to research the marketplace and find underutilized segments within your industry that are consistent with your products, services and skills.

Sometimes you can find your niche by walking through your competitors’ stores and being observant. Is there a void of good service? Are popular items not being stocked? Do their salespeople ask the right questions?

I like interviewing my competitor’s sales people to gain insights about their employers. I have also found Securities and Exchange Commission filings of public companies are useful to learn what market segments my largest competitors neglect. You can find SEC filings online.

After you find your niche it must be exploited quickly before your competitors follow suit. In Sandelman’s case, he and Bradenton real estate broker Patti Bosco spent substantial time and effort traveling to Canada and meeting prospective buyers of Southwest Florida vacation homes.

Photo by lumaxart.

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