Going above and beyond your duties
Has anyone found success in helping individual prospects acheive their non-financial goals (i.e. help prospect's kid get into that prestigious private school, or referred a huge client over to that propect's business) in order to gain an "upper hand" in winning over their investment accounts?
It's a bit more difficult to do things like that for prospects, but those are absolutely the things you should be doing for your existing clients. If you have business clients, refer your other clients to them. Help widows buy cars. Shovel their driveways. Help them with their everyday lives. They don't have to be multi millionairres to refer people to you. Doing things outside your typical scope of business will endear them to you. They will be more likely to refer people to you or send you more business if you do.
What prompted me to ask the question was an MS advisor who successfully found and negogiated a real estate purchase for one of their exisiting clients. Its all about providing value inside and outside of the financial planning realm.
Has anyone found success ...
Lamba, I don't think that it's about finding success. I think that it's all part of being a friend and a good person. In my practice, I try to help people in any way possible. It just so happens that my expertise is in financial matters, thus that is how I help them. However, if I can help them in any other manner, I'm happy to do it and am actively looking for the opportunity to do so.
Be sure to balance this extra effort. While you and the client may find this to be completely normal, sometimes heirs will think it is odd. Building a relationship with the heirs is the best solution, but sometimes they think you are taking fees off of their future inheritance, and they can't figure out why mom likes you (their advisor) better than themselves! I think you should do extra personal touch things, but just be aware outsiders may see this as being unprofessional.