Skyscrapers in downtown Chicago (Photo: Shutterstock)

It is important to be proud of your firm.  If you subscribe to industry magazines and daily online newsletters you are always reading about an agent or advisor who did something wrong or a firm being hit with a fine.  These are the minority in a large world of agents and advisors trying to make a living while doing the best job they can for their clients.  Your firm’s reputation is one of your best, yet overlooked tools.

I worked at Merrill Lynch for 20 years.  I was always proud of my firm.   The firm’s reputation spread beyond the industry.  As I recall, John Grisham’s novel The Firm has one of his characters riding in an elevator with “a couple of Merrill Lynch types.”  At least one of Robert Ludlum’s novels had a character referencing my former firm.  Many, many years ago the New Yorker magazine ran a cartoon with angels looking at people standing at a counter on a cloud with a big Merrill Lynch sign.  One angel told the other something like: “These are the folks lucky enough to take their money with them.” It made me feel good.

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