photo by  klndonnelly

photo by klndonnelly

How did you get your last client?

Let me guess.

It’s someone that a client referred to you.

Am I right?

If you’re in finance, you know the power of referrals, so I’m not dissing here. You definitely want to nurture that pipeline.

But can we admit that relying on referrals is limiting and leaving your livelihood to chance a little bit?

Even if you help someone create a financial plan that allows them to pack their bags on a moment’s notice and unexpectedly move across the country to take care of an ailing family member, chances are that person might not recommend you to another soul for weeks or months or years . . . if at all.

What’s that you say, you network like crazy?

How is that working out for you?

There is only one of you. You can only talk to one person at a time. There are only so many hours in a day.

Again, I’m not dissing. Networking is a powerful tool when you use it the right way. (Hint: Do you use networking to find 1 client, or do you network to find 1 person who can connect you to 10 clients?).

I’m not saying STOP networking.

Let’s talk about an ugly little truth about human nature for a second. As much as we say we hate stereotypes, we all use stereotypes. And there are quite a few prevalent consumer stereotypes about financial service providers – greedy, risky, power-hungry, boring – just to name a few.

Am I going to reveal my intimate financial details to someone I think could be one or more of those stereotypes?

You are not in the money business, you’re in the trust business.

One of my clients, who is NONE of those stereotypes, understood when she started her business that people are emotionally charged when it comes to money.

So it is mind boggling to me (and I’m guessing to her) that so many financial professionals focus on the numbers. If you were at your BNI meeting and there were five other financial planners or CPAs or money coaches there, how would you stand out?

My client was determined to find a way (LOVE THAT!).

Here are just three things she’s done (with help from me and others) that sets her apart:

  1. She shares a compelling story. Finding her deeper motivation and tapping into her own experiences with money and emotions, and then sharing that story, has allowed my client to connect with people quickly and deeply. Remember I said you’re in the trust business? Her story has allowed her to accelerate the “know, like and trust” process exponentially. Oh, and it doesn’t hurt that few other people in her field are engaging directly and intimately with their audience.
  2. She gets “the biggest bang for her buck”. We think of return on investment in terms of money but my client applied this principle to her time as well. Instead of going to events to network, she’s speaking at them. Instead of generating leads one person at a time, her goal is to generate hundreds at a time. In other words, she’s focused on building an audience so she can convert a percentage of that audience into clients.
  3. She worked on her positioning. My client realized that bookkeepers, CPAs, even money coaches are plentiful and it’s hard to tell them apart (true in most fields by the way). So instead of doing what everyone else is doing, she honed in on her true value. She’s done trading dollars for hours. She’s changing people’s lives . . . and that’s a treasure.

Know someone who could benefit from this? Good! Would you do me a huge favor and share on Facebook or Twitter? Thanks!

How about you? What’s one thing you do (or can do) today to set yourself apart,  no matter what field you’re in? Let us know in the comments.


  1. Scott Gately on November 10, 2014 at 5:35 pm

    Makes good sense! thanks – Scott

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