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Get Real to Get Clients

Hesh Reinfeld can help you tell your story in a way that people will notice.

David J. Drucker, 09/18/2008

Financial advising is a tricky business.

We all know that money is one of clients' most personal issues, and properly advising someone on what to do with their money often takes the advisor into clients' most personal memories, values and principles. Clients must share intimate information if we are to do our jobs well. But should that be reciprocated? This is an ongoing debate in planner circles, and the stand an advisor takes may be more a function of his conservatism than anything else.

For years, I was hesitant to tell my own clients that I enjoyed motorcycling for fear they would view my hobby as a risk-taking behavior incompatible with sound fiscal management. That all ended when, one day, one of my best clients told me her son-in-law was restoring an old Harley and asked me to buy a Harley Davidson stock certificate in her grandson's name that he could hang on his bedroom wall. Thereafter, we talked motorcycling and I opened up to her a part of my life I'd previously hesitated to reveal. Our relationship achieved a new level of intimacy simply because I'd shared something personal.

And that's what Hesh Reinfeld does...he ferrets out those most personal and unique qualities advisors possess but rarely, if ever, share with their clients. Here's what Reinfeld had to say as we explored his approach to marketing advisors' own stories.

Drucker: Hesh, tell me about your background.

Reinfeld: I've been a professional writer for four years and, for many years prior, was in marketing and sales. I started as a business humor columnist, got my columns syndicated and, from that, got into working with advisors. I'd read an article by Larry Chambers in which he told advisors to throw away their marketing brochures and tell their prospects, instead, who they were and how they'd helped their clients. Larry assumed this is what people really wanted to read. I thought this was a good idea, and now I write for advisors, helping them to better differentiate themselves and what they do.

Drucker: Can't advisors do that for themselves?

Reinfeld: Most advisors can't. My approach with advisors illustrates the power of story telling. I help them create a profile; not a bio--but a profile. It's more of a background piece. The recently televised Olympics serve as an analogy. If you watch NBC, the power of the show is its profiles on key athletes. Suddenly you're interested in weight lifting because you know something personal about the athletes behind the sport. It's all a matter of how you get it down in writing. What I evolved over the last two years is a system of helping advisors tell their story.

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