Mission Accomplished

  • Jul 7, 2017

Those who have known me for a while have heard me say, probably too often, “It is not about the product it is about what the product does for you”.  More accurately, it is about the strategy you apply in using the product.
Here is an example of what I mean.
Tom is a financial advisor who works with executives. He is also a 529 education fund expert. The 529 education funds are his door opener with new prospective EXECUTIVE clients who already have a financial consultant.
  He wanted a gift to give clients who opened a new 529 account with him.  The purpose was to say thank you for doing business.  Tom is a great guy, he wanted to say thank you because it is the right thing to do. He also knows that showing your gratitude is a smart thing to do.  He was considering the usual executive gifts but asked us what to give the executive who had everything and do it without breaking the bank.  The executive gifts he was considering were in the $25 range.  At first this might seem to be an impossible mission - impress an executive client on a shoe string. 
As Jennifer and I began work on this we asked the questions we always ask ourselves, such as: Who are the recipients? What really is important to them?  What relates to Tom’s business?  The answer was immediately obvious to us. Their young children and grand children are very important to Tom’s Clients.  In fact, nothing is more important to them, thus the investment in the 529 fund.
We had to revise the initial thoughts. Rather than a gift from Tom, the gift should come from the child.  The next step was easy.  The product did not matter as much as the message the product conveyed. Here was our solution: A mug with an all over imprint of child’s hand prints in primary colors with a message in a child’s printing, complete with a reversed letter or two.
In this case the gift was a fun recognition of Tom’s client’s deepest values.  When you understand someone they feel visible.  When you recognize and admire them, they and you feel closer to one another.  That gift was and is a true relationship builder that has kept giving for years.  Many of those fund buyers became long term clients for Tom. 
Secondary consequences are important too. 
  • It served to remove buyer’s remorse.
  • The project came in well under the $25 budget.
  • It serves for years as a daily reminder to continue to add to the fund.
  • Each time it is seen it generates warm personal feelings
I know Tom retains nearly 100% of his ecstatic client’s because he is a master at serving their needs, but we like to think we helped speed those new relationships toward trust.
Put more time in thinking strategically before thinking about what product to buy.  That is the meaning of, “It’s the thought that counts.”


Would you like to try to create a strategic advantage for your business? Let me know. We can explore the possibilities.   - Bruce