When I first started in financial services, one of my early mentors emphasized that everything in this business is about relationships. I have always taken that to heart. My friends joke that I talk to people from the minute I get up to when I go to bed—and that is not far from the truth.
But I am not one to be constantly making sales pitches. The key to success in financial planning is to enjoy the process of meeting new people and forming long-term relationships. You want to let people know what you do and then let it simmer over time. I have a very hard time making a direct appeal to people and do not mind some delayed gratification.
My first career was in law enforcement for the City of New Haven. I served in several different positions there, including overseeing the training academy. Throughout my tenure working for the City I made many contacts in a variety of state and federal agencies, and in the legal, education, government, and financial communities in New Haven and surrounding areas. This has served our firm well, as a healthy part of our practice involves working with 457 payroll deduction plans for several municipalities.
It also allowed me to build up a network of contacts that just keeps expanding. You never know what sort of relationship will develop over time—whether someone might one day be a potential client, in a position to refer someone, or be a valuable mutual business resource. I generally try to have four to six appointments a day.
I have also expanded my network by joining many local organizations, serving on boards, and just being active in many parts of the community. When my children went through the school system, my wife and I were very active in the PTA, and I was president during their grammar school and high school years. I have been involved with community boards in New Haven, a member of the Airport Authority, and chairman of the Town Green Special Services district.
I am involved with several other organizations as well. The point is to get out there and stay involved. It is great to give back to the community and a wonderful way to build meaningful personal and business relationships that can be lasting.
Disclosure: Eugene W. Harris is a registered representative of Lincoln Financial Securities Corp. Securities and investment advisory services offered through Lincoln Financial Securities Corp., a broker/dealer and registered investment advisor, member SIPC. Insurance offered through Lincoln affiliates and other fine companies. It is not our position to offer legal or tax advice. Branch office: 250 State Street Unit B-1, Sturbridge Commons, North Haven, CT 06473. Eugene W Harris & Company and Lincoln Financial Securities are not affiliated. LFS-1425287-022216
Photography by Chris Beauchamps