I spoke recently with Jennifer Landon, the president and founder of Idaho-based Journey Financial Services. We discussed products such as annuities and also what it means to be a woman in a male-dominated industry.

Landon, right, told me that annuities are a big part of her practice and she’s a member of NAFA and definitely supports the annuity side of things. But what really perked her up was when she started telling me about what really matters in an advisory practice.

“Relationships,” she said. “Relationships are the key. We really want to get to know people.”

Her town of Idaho Falls is the kind of place where those relationships very well might go on for decades so you have to be true to your word and true to your clients. It’s through the relationships that she’s able to build a level of trust. She relayed the following story:

“The markets were down one day. A client and I were talking and he had questions about gold. Then, all of a sudden, he stopped what he was saying and told me: ‘I used to get all wrapped up in these (matters) and worry, but I don’t do that anymore.’ That’s the best thing you can do for the clients,” added Landon. “That you’ve alleviated worry. That the plan you’ve put in place is working.”

But first, you have to meet the prospects to get those relationships growing. Landon meets many of them through referrals and the workshops she conducts. Generally, there are two to three workshops per month. It’s in those meetings that Landon finds out what interests the prospective clients have.

By surveying prospects and existing clients, she’s been able to find out their hobbies and has developed low-key get-togethers. “We’ve had experts come in and teach us tips on gardening. We even had one on packing for a trip. Did you know there were experts on packing?” she asked me. I had to admit that I didn’t. Although I’m sure I could use one.

Before we ended our call, I asked her about something I’ve been researching: the idea of women in the advisory field. “Do you see any silver linings?” I asked.

“Definitely,” she said. “If there is a strength I see, it’s that women are really good at building relationships.” (There’s that word again.) “And, I think there’s a shift from this being a transactional business to being a relationship business. Because of that I think there will be more and more women who will be successful.”

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