In dealing with prospective clients, financial planners should look to the assembly line for inspiration. This unexpected advice comes from Katherine Vessenes, president of Vestment Advisors in Chanhassen, Minn., and is based on her observation of highly successful planners around the nation.

"In a manufacturing process, things get done the same way every time," Vessenes says. When top planners meet prospects, she says, they, too, usually have a highly organized approach.

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