Like so many people nowadays, I was feeling a little uneasy about how the current and future state of our economy would impact my retirement. Horror stories about people who have lost their life savings or have seen their investments plummet left me and my husband worried that our nest egg would go the way of Humpty Dumpty, so we scheduled a planning session with our financial advisor to ensure our egg wouldn’t fall off the proverbial wall.
It had been a while since we’d seen our advisor, so we spent the first few minutes of our appointment chatting about our families and catching up with one another. My husband and I told him about the kids’ latest sports adventures and he told us about his recent travels. Engaging people in casual conversation always helps me gain a comfort level with people both personally and professionally because it helps foster authentic connection, which is the foundation for building lasting, meaningful relationships. By focusing on relationships first, we laughed, we smiled and we connected with one another before we even broached the subject of ensuring a secure financial future. This put us all at ease, and the conversation progressed naturally from there.
Our advisor wanted to know more about what I have been up to over the past year since I launched my own relationship marketing business. I told him about some of the clients I have been working with, and what I was focusing on in terms of relationship marketing. He was genuinely intrigued, which guided the conversation into the investigation stage. The tables turned as my advisor asked for input about his marketing efforts. He shared with me his current strategy, how it works for him, and what he ultimately wants to achieve. Then, like the pro he is, he moved on to the business at hand. He addressed our concerns about the market, and helped us map out a financial plan that should carry us comfortably through retirement. His expertise, confidence and competence put our minds at ease, and we were relieved and grateful for his guidance and support.
As we were wrapping things up, I decided to give him a gift in return for the peace of mind he had given to both my husband and me during our session. I dug deep into my area of expertise and gave him some advice that I truly believed could strengthen his marketing efforts. I explained how he could incorporate my tips into his current marketing plan without spending a great deal of time or money. I did not hold back or say, “Gee, you know what? Let’s schedule an appointment so we can discuss your marketing needs. And by the way, this is my fee.” I practiced what comes naturally to me – giving him the gift of knowledge in appreciation for the value he gave my husband and me that day. In my mind, there were no strings attached, and you know what? It felt great!
As we were leaving his office, he asked me to put together a proposal for him. He thought I could help his business, and said he would really like to work with me. We spent a few minutes talking about his overall goals and objective, as well as his most pressing needs and his budget. I walked out of his office that day not only with the weight of financial stress lifted from my shoulders, but with a strong lead for new business and the opportunity to work with an ideal client as well. It proved to me yet again that what goes around comes around: when you give of yourself, you will receive!
You might think this a random example – one of those chance encounters that occasionally result in a new client. But this can happen for you too when you consciously strive to add value to others. You can build the kind of trust I have with my advisor by focusing on relationships first. We each have our own area of expertise, but when you demonstrate your knowledge rather than pitching your services, you end up serving others – and yourself – best. By following my instinct to add value to my advisor, I was rewarded with an invitation to come back with my proposal in hand. It was a golden opportunity to serve someone who had served me, and I didn’t even have to ask. Now that’s what I call reciprocity! FBN
Written by Cindy May. More information at cindymaymarketing.com