The following is based on one of Norm Trainor’s clients. All of the names and telling details have been changed.
Simon’s background and cultural experience gave him a great advantage in his chosen career as a financial advisor. Born and raised in Lebanon, Simon spoke English, French and Arabic. His clientele consisted primarily of people from his native country, a market he felt he had virtually tapped out.
When we first started working together, it was clear that, although he didn’t realize it, one of Simon’s strengths was his network. In fact, the characteristics of the people in his natural market created the greatest opportunity to grow his business.
The key to Simon’s success in growing his business was to leverage the attitudes, attributes and values of the people in his natural market.
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The people of Lebanon and the Middle East, in general, place a high value on relationships and trust. In building his business, Simon spent countless hours drinking coffee and playing backgammon and chess with prospects and clients – coffee is a staple of relationship-building in the Middle East. His investment in establishing credibility paid off in spades as a significant number of friends and relatives became clients.
His large network enabled him to increase his revenue to $250,000 in his fourth year as a financial advisor. Then his income stopped growing.
The most important measure of the degree of trust or credibility in a client relationship is the extent to which people willingly introduce, recommend or refer their advisor to the people that are most important to them. When Simon learned to ask his clients and centers of influence for introductions, recommendations and referrals, his revenue doubled in the next year.