I used to think that one of the keys to being successful in the financial service business was the “R” word, relationships. That is, adding value to our client and strategic partner relationships.

But now I’ve come to realize that there is a new “R” word we need to understand and fold into our business. That word is “relevant."

The etymology of which goes back to the Old French and Latin. A working definition today would be “directly related, connected, or pertinent to a topic”….

I’ve alluded to it in several of my weekly articles. There was The Blackberry Reminder as in not being relevant to rapid technological change and consumer attitudes. There was also How to Better Understand Family-Owned Business Clients as in being mindful of the unique features of these businesses so we can serve them better.

So let me share some thoughts with you about getting to R2. I’ve come to realize that we as a firm do best with clients, mostly business owners, who have a set of attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors that allow us to be relevant so we can add value to our relationships.

In other words, it’s not just about the demographics of the retirement plan market; it’s also about the intangibles.

Jerry Kalish is an EBA Advisory Board member and President of National Benefit Services, Inc., a Chicago-based third party administrator. He is a Guest Lecturer at John Marshall School of Law LLM Program in Employee Benefits and serves on the Great Lakes IRS Advisory Council for Tax Exempt and Government Entity Plans. Jerry has been publishing The Retirement Plan Blog since 2006. He can be reached via email at jerry@nationalbenefit.com and followed on Twitter.


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