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Archive for June, 2011

When A Company Is A Family

Posted By Michael Roby | Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

At this time, flood-waters  continue to savage North Dakota. Some of the communities affected include Fargo, Minot, Mandan, Williston, and Bismarck. These communities, and others are being challenged as never before . Bismarck is the home of Investment Centers of America (ICA), and they have offices in all of these cities. Several ICA employees face loss of their homes and possessions in floods that might last weeks, and in fact months.

ICA was founded in 1985 by Tom Gunderson, an investment executive and native North Dakotan. Tom Sr. is a leader, and he built ICA from the gound up, and guided the firm through its formative years. All six of his sons have worked for ICA over the years, and oldest son Greg Gunderson currently serves masterfully as President. From the time ICA was founded, Tom Sr. always spoke of “The ICA Family.”  Several years ago Tom Sr. sold the company, and today it is part of NPH Holdings, an affiliate of Jackson National Insurance Company.

While ICA is part of a much larger corporate conglomerate, it still is a “Family.” Like all companies, ICA is not perfect and faces its share of challenges, but in times of crisis, the ICA Family rallies itself. A significant number of ICA representatives from several states went to Bismarck, (at their own expense) to help with sandbagging, moving furniture, and providing other services to those in need. Other ICA reps and employees continue to help and provide assistance in other ways. Reps from across the United States plan to go to Bismarck after the water recedes to help their “Family” clean-up and get their lives back in order.

So can a large company still be a family? The evidence says the answer is “yes” for a broker-dealer firm in North Dakota.

Good selling!

(Note: Investment Centers of America is a client of mine. This has had no impact on this article, but this note is written in the spirit of full disclosure.)

Do You Serve Customers or Clients?

Posted By Michael Roby | Saturday, June 4th, 2011

According to the American Heritage Dictionary, both “customer” and “client” can be defined as “one that buys goods or services.” However, there are distinct differences.

  • Customers need the transaction
  • Clients need the relationship.
  • Customers buy a product or service.
  • Clients buy the people of the firm.
  • Customers are dependent on the product for quality
  • Clients are interdependent with the advisor for quality.
  • Customers are “satisfied.”
  • Clients are loyal advocates.
  • Customers buy commodities.
  • Clients buy commodities with value added services.
  • Customers buy cheapest price.
  • Clients buy best value.
  • Customers might buy only once.
  • Clients buy over and over.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. “What percentage of my accounts or professional relationships are customers and what percentage are truly clients?”
  2. “What can you do to improve and in fact maximize your client relationships?”
  3. “What do you need to do first, and when will you start?”

Good Selling!