ACTIONABLE ADVICE FOR FINANCIAL ADVISORS: Newsletters and Commentaries Focused on Investment Strategy

What a 29-Year Old Can Teach You about Referrals

February 26th, 2013

by Dan Richards

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Dan Richards

It all started with a simple request that, as it turned out, was not so simple. The resulting encounter with a 29-year old account manager at a leading bank provided important lessons for advisors around:

  • Communicating your focus on customer needs
  • Checking for satisfaction
  • Letting clients know you’re open for business
  • Following up
  • The right incentives for your team

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A simple request

Given a growing amount of business in Europe, earlier this year I decided to open a euro-denominated bank account to make deposits and write checks. Even though I’ve banked at this branch for many years, I was told that I had to sit down with an account manager to do this … and was introduced to a young woman who appeared to be in her late 20s or early 30s – let’s call her Mary Smith.

“Mr. Richards, we have several different plans for foreign currency accounts,” Mary began. “To ensure that I open the right one for you, how many deposits and checks are you likely to make in the average month and what kind of balance do you expect to maintain in the account.”

The paperwork wasn’t onerous and we were through in about five minutes. And that’s where it got interesting.

What else can I help you with?

After I’d finished signing all the forms, Mary said:

“Mr. Richards, is there anything else can I help you with, perhaps a line of credit or we could check to see if you can reduce your bank fees by switching to a different type of account?”

And then she did what everyone should do after asking that kind of question, she sat back and waited for me to respond … after a couple of seconds I had no choice but to fill the vacuum.

“Thanks for the suggestion, Mary,” I said, “ and I may take you up on your offer to look at my bank account at some point down the road, but I have an appointment in 10 minutes I have to head off to.”

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