Building client relationships

Getting out of the office is key for making connections

Maintaining client relationships is an integral part of doing business within any industry. Ancora is no different and, as a financial adviser, the most frequent question I get from my younger colleagues is where I find my clients.

I really don’t have a specific answer other than I find them just by being out and present in the community. It takes time and effort, but cultivating a network has been key to my professional accomplishments.

Luckily, I think I was predisposed for this role because, throughout my adolescence, my parents often pushed me and my siblings toward situations that might have been uncomfortable at the time but that would serve as great opportunities to develop interpersonal skills. These ranged from self-help videos, to Dale Carnegie-style books and classes. In our household, the expectation was that we would have summer jobs, and for me, that meant spending mornings caddying for some of Cleveland’s most connected and recognizable business, medical and civic leaders. It is evident now, although it felt like torture then, that our parents were helping us develop the tools to succeed when we stepped out of our comfort zones.

Our company also emphasizes hard work, self-promotion and networking. I have met clients and centers of influence at the gym, on the golf course, at fundraisers, sporting events, business conferences and everywhere in between. I like being out and with people because it’s proven to be the most effective way of promoting myself and my organization. I feel very fortunate that the company supports this method. I don’t feel tied to a desk but can instead get out and network in a way that works best for me.

I’m smart enough to know that I’m not the smartest person I know. I may not be the most connected, the most culturally and socially sensitive or the best teacher. Where I do excel is at meeting and identifying people with those strengths and adding them to my network to learn as much as I can from their insights. I rely heavily on personal relationships for new connections and try to share my connections with anyone who may need them.

To young business people and anyone in a relationship management-centric role, I highly recommend that you do your research, get involved in things that you care about and remember that putting in effort outside of the office will get you far in building your network. I value the mentors, teachers and opportunities I have found in the nonprofit organizations I’ve aligned myself with, in professional development courses and groups that I’ve joined and from people I’ve just happened to meet along the way.

As my network continues to grow, I find new ways to better myself through my connections but, more important, I’m finding ways to improve my community. When I can do that, the evenings away from my family, the early mornings or the lunch workouts I’ve missed seem more palatable.

The limitations on personal interactions over the past months have been difficult, but as with everything, we adapt, although I am looking forward to safely being back in social settings in boardrooms and expanding my network. If I want to succeed, I know I cannot do it alone. I will continue to broaden my network, help others and accept support from everyone I have the benefit of interacting with.

John Kane, Senior Vice President, Family Wealth Adviser at Ancora, has experience as both a family wealth adviser and client relationship manager and is a FINRA licensed registered representative.