From the May 2010 issue of Investment Advisor • Subscribe!

May 1, 2010

Case Study: Michael and Tina Tannery

Michael and Tina Tannery, of Tannery Wealth in Richardson, Texas, are one of the top-performing teams within LPL. After careers in the wirehouses, the two went independent more than six years ago. In a conscious move, the two drastically pared down the number of relationships that they kept; from 600 to six. As independents, Michael and Tina wanted to focus on building, and maintaining, incredible relationships with all of their clients. This all began with a desire to work with only those clients who were completely in synch with their principles, ideology, and personal style.

As they have built their practice back to 106 relationships, Michael and Tina have been relentless in creating a circle of homogeneous, like-minded clients. An emblematic example of their community-building effort is their "Fearless Forecast," a much-anticipated annual client event. For the most recent one, during a driving Texas rainstorm, 70 people showed up for a night of forecasting, wine, and fun.

Michael and Tina have built a practice that is predicated on three important tenets:

1. Follow through...Always do what you tell your clients that you are going to do,

2. Help them solve their need, whatever it is,

3. Cross-introduce.

This last point, cross-introduction, is an illustration of another one of Michael and Tina's basic beliefs, which is a pay-it-forward sense of helping others without an obligation of quid pro quo. They work very hard at establishing themselves as the trusted advisors to call first, before the attorney, accountant, or anyone else for that matter. Their clients know that if they have a need, Michael and Tina will meet it without question or sense of payback, AND without regard to their own self-interest.

The culture of giving that Michael and Tina have built has created its own form of remuneration. Ninety percent of their clients have been garnered through new client introductions from existing clients. Moreover, after a challenging 2009, where Tannery Wealth shed some of its advisors, Michael and Tina saw a 27% year-over-year increase in production through Q1 of 2010. They attribute this to clear and focused re-commitment to their own core beliefs which begins with a deep understanding of the concerns and dreams of all of their clients.

Coaching Question: How many of your current clients fit your 'ideal client persona'? Are you working with the right kind of people for who you are?

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