Simplicity in Business

Simplicity in Business

I’ve been traveling this past week to several different conferences, and have already picked up some great ideas to share with our advisers.  Through my travels, I was struck by a couple of comments that really hit me—about the simplicity and authenticity of business.  I’m always surprised about how the simplest and most direct statements are often the most valuable. 


I had the great honor of speaking at The Society of Financial Service Professional’s (FSP) Arizona Institute.  As I was preparing for the event, I remembered that FSP played a large part in one of the largest sales during my retail career.  After receiving a large lump sum of money that increased their net worth, a couple had a question about college funding and the eligibility of future assistance.  College funding and financial assistance were not my areas of expertise.  So I sent my question to the discussion board at the association and received a lot of valuable information in return.


I was able to discuss the case with another professional who deals in financial assistance and planning, and was an expert in his field.  I learned from that experience, and passed that learning along to my client.  The knowledge I passed along from that source added value to my interactions with my prospective client.  I also encouraged the couple to contact my source if they felt the need to explore additional information.  Because of my relationship with a network of professionals, I was able to add value beyond my expertise.  The couple elected my firm to manage their money due to my ability to look holistically at their current situation.


Adding value—value that is important to the person you are working with—can come in many flavors.  As I was sitting in a carrier meeting this week, I was reminded about the simplicity of business when you work on bringing value to the relationship.  The speaker commented on three things that make you successful in business, regardless of your industry:

  1. People like you.
  2. People trust you.
  3. You add value.  If you add value, it’s easier to get people to like and trust you.

So simple.  So right.  But too often ignored. 


After attending the Arizona Institute earlier in the week, this simple checklist for business relationships resonated with me.  Our value to our clients will be the knowledge and wisdom we bring to the relationship.  We are quickly moving to business models that require technology to make investment selections and recommendations.  However, our clients will still require value brought to the relationship in the form of personal expertise, a trusting relationship and the ability to have a meaningful conversation.  We have to find the proper expansion of our business models that can add value.  With one of the greatest fears of Americans still being running out of money in retirement, I suggest we take a hard look at the longevity issues around income planning.  This can easily add value to your relationships and provide a means of having a unique conversation with your clients and prospects.


Winning Strategy:

Take a look at the simple aspects of your client relationships.  Leverage the likability, trust and value propositions you can add in order to recruit new clients. 


About the Author

Mike McGlothlin is a tireless advocate for the retirement planning industry. As executive vice president of annuities at Ash Brokerage, he heads a team providing income planning solutions focused on longevity and efficiency. He’s also a thought leader who provides guidance and assistance for advisors and broker-dealers navigating marketplace and regulatory changes. You can find a collection of his blog posts in his book, “Above the Clouds … Winning Strategies from 30,000 Feet.”