Innovate or Die

The holistic approach of The Leist Group


Last updated on July 2nd, 2019 at 09:04 pm


We all know the importance of the work that police officers do to protect us and keep us safe. And we would probably think it somewhat unusual that the police officer who can take on hardened criminals is also the person who could launch a very successful financial services group that would advise us on how we should deploy our capital to secure our financial futures.

Meet David Leist, former police detective, who pivoted in his career and founded his own financial services business that has attracted hundreds of clients who trust the advice and help they receive.

In the world of innovation, creating a new product or service is the gold standard. It’s called disruptive technology and a new medical device or a breakthrough drug or a newly advanced manufacturing process would all qualify.

But what if you launch a business in a highly competitive industry when just about everything in terms of new financial products has been invented and is available to your competitors?

The goal for any such business is to distinguish its brand on what it delivers from the competition to make it so unique that customers will keep coming back. In fact, the cover story for the April 2018 issue of Kiplinger’s magazine was on how to go about selecting a financial advisor from the thousands available throughout the country.

Early on, Leist decided the best way to distinguish his business so he would stand out from his competitors was to focus on the experience of the customer, which translates into building strong relationships with service comparable to none. The core of that experience is to educate his clients so they better understand the various steps they need to take to secure their financial future.

His shop offers ongoing education workshops and, most importantly, specific educational outreach to teach people the ins and outs of Social Security, Medicare, 401(k)s, and even completing their tax returns and making sure they understand  more efficient tax planning.

In the financial services industry, people will claim they give great service. However, all too often that amounts to a meeting with the client and then recommending a set of investments the advisor thinks appropriate.

The Leist Group LLC, located in Elm Grove, has an entirely different, holistic approach. It insists on a series of meetings with the clients so advisors can build an information bank and then help that client understand all of the options and “ins and outs” of all approaches.

David Leist recognizes that most people are intimidated by issues of money and that stems directly from the fact that they don’t really receive education about it either at the high school or college level.

As a result, most adults start their working life clueless about financial markets and more importantly, almost terrified of dealing with their own money.

The Leist Group feels that with its process of ongoing client meetings, which are focused on education and giving a guiding hand, it helps clients to not “feel like a number” – that they have received personalized, one-on-one attention specific to their unique situation. Leist’s clients become more confident in understanding the financial options available to them.

The goal of his group is not just to sell products, but to offer educational service and help to people wanting to take over their own financial destiny.

This is particularly important in the financial products market because, ultimately, they’re selling something that’s “invisible,” since a financial product such as a mutual fund or an annuity is not something someone can touch and feel.

Hence the financial services industry is built entirely on trust and that’s what Leist Group does: builds trust with the client. That requires “active listening” and really taking the time to understand the client.

Some financial advisors compete on performance, but with consumers increasingly going to the internet themselves and purchasing index funds, a strategy based on investment returns is ultimately a risky one and probably not sustainable.

The hands-on, relationship-building approach has worked in making The Leist Group a unique brand that gathers intense client loyalty.

Everything David Leist has taken on in life has been to learn as much as possible about any initiative and then execute flawlessly.

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Dan Steininger is the president and founder of BizStarts. He is also the president of Steininger & Associates. The firm focuses on teaching the tools of innovation to drive growth for companies in all sectors of the economy. Steininger is a former president and CEO of Catholic Financial Life and a graduate of Marquette University and Boston University's School of Law.

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