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What is the "Sizzle" in Your "Steak", Todd?

| October 23, 2018
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What is the Sizzle in Your Steak, Todd?

A colleague of mine recently attended a networking luncheon where people were introducing themselves and describing their businesses. No matter what the business, it seemed everyone said they provided “excellent service”. That is not supposed to be a “differentiator” - it’s supposed to be a “given”.  In a crowded business marketplace, it can sometimes be challenging for professionals to be distinctive when it appears to the outsider that “everyone in that business sells the same thing”. The group then had to contemplate what the “sizzle” in their “steak” was, an interesting concept for professionals.

It can certainly be confusing for investors to determine the appropriate financial advisor for their needs. No, we don’t all sell the same thing. Nor are we all the same. So how can we demonstrate our qualities? I sat and contemplated the “sizzle” of my own practice and brainstormed a few ideas:

  1. My practice does not just consist of me, but of an experienced team consisting of 2 CFP®s, a CFA, and 2 MBAs as well as administrative support personnel. On my immediate team, our collective financial advisor experience spans over 80 years.
  2. You can visit and review my BrokerCheck report to see there are no disciplinary actions. It is important to research the background of your financial professional to see if there is a history of adverse behaviors such as customer complaints, suspensions, or other actions.
  3. I have been in this industry since 1987 and have been through a wide range of market conditions. Because we have had a prolonged bull market, less experienced advisors may not have the experience of a prolonged bear market.
  4. I value independent thinking, not being told what to sell by quotas or limited in what I can offer by proprietary products. My clients are able to access a very wide range of products and services. My broker/dealer LPL Financial does not offer products itself. I am able to do due diligence to assist each client in finding the products and services to work toward their objectives. We never try to squeeze clients into one-size-fits-all products, because we know that one size does not fit all.
  5. I act as a fiduciary. That means, I work in the best interest of the client and put the client’s objectives ahead of my own.
  6. We are a hybrid RIA firm which enables our clients to choose between a fee-based (investment advisory) or commission-based (brokerage) relationship.
  7. We offer financial planning services so that clients can have a roadmap to follow toward their goals.
  8. In addition to investments, I am able to offer life, long term care, and disability insurance strategies.
  9. My clients are diverse - men, women, senior citizens, young adults, different races, different creeds, LGBTQ community members. My welcome mat is out to all. Because I am licensed in many states, my clients are also from a wide range of areas.
  10. I offer phone appointments for those who are unable to travel or pressed for time.
  11. I believe in education and hold a range of financial designations so that I might better assist my clients by being informed. I strive to educate my clients so that they know what they own, how it works, and why they own it.
  12. I am able to assist with specialized financial matters such as structured settlements, business owner financial issues, trusts, estates, business continuity, and more. I have a network of relationships with specialists in a range of advanced services who can work with me and my clients when extra assistance is needed in complex situations to develop very specific strategies.
  13. I am part of wealth management teams for my high net worth clients which might also include their attorneys, accountants, and tax specialists. I am able to work with my clients’ professionals, lending support and advice.
  14. As a business owner myself, I am able to relate to the many opportunities and challenges facing business owners and have a network of resources to assist the unique circumstances of these clients.
  15. Engaged in the community, I am highly resourceful and pleased to connect clients with resources for many business and personal needs.


These are just some of the aspects that set my practice apart. I would value the opportunity to get to know your financial needs and how my team and I might assist. Oh yeah, our service is pretty good, too!



I am pleased to assist you, your family members, friends, and colleagues. I offer a complimentary first consultation.


The opinions expressed are those of the author. Seek advice from a qualified professional before taking any action in regard to your finances.


Todd A. Slingerland, CFP®

6 Tower Place Albany, NY 12203   (518) 867-4000 x105






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