Thursday, July 2, 2009

Referrals are the ultimate compliment


By Dan Danford

We received another great compliment last week. Well, actually, it started several months ago, but it culminated last week when we signed some papers.
Our business is fueled by referrals. Various studies show that investment management services are chosen on the basis of friendship. Not necessarily friendship with the manager, but people generally choose managers recommended by friends and associates. Even among the wealthiest households, these informal referrals carry tremendous impact.
Referrals are even more important for me because I don’t like to sell. I’m at my best when someone approaches me to help solve a problem or organize investments. I don’t persuade people to buy our services. Instead, I show what we do and they decide whether I can help. If I can, great. If not, that’s okay, too.
Any referral is a nice compliment. It’s one person telling another that they know me, they like me, and – most importantly – they trust me. In a sense, it is a Stamp of Approval on my professional competence issued by the very best source: a trusted friend or respected colleague.
The ultimate compliment is a referral to someone’s parent. As adults, most of us worry about our parents. We want to help (if they need it) but we respect their independence and privacy. We are fairly protective and particularly cautious in recommending help, especially financial help. In brief, the standard of trust is exceedingly high.
Friends are always good to me and I help many parents and in-laws. But, this case was especially gratifying because the family genuinely needed assistance. We helped them identify assets, organize recordkeeping, plan their estate, and consolidate a variety of bank and investment accounts. They are such nice people and they were so grateful for my help.
It was touching. Their accountant son introduced us and I consider it the highest compliment I can get. It’s precisely why we started Family Investment Center.

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