Recently, I had a rather illuminating conversation with a friend of mine, Susanne Hill, one of the owners of our local newspaper, The Madisonian, about the idea of “buying local,” a subject on which she was clearly well versed.

“The question isn’t whether I should buy local,” she said. “The question is what can YOU do for me or sell me that is EXCEPTIONAL?”

Even though her observation should’ve gone without saying, it was anything but rhetorical.

Quite the opposite, it resonated with me so much that it kept me awake that night and had me race first thing the following morning into the office to jot down my responses.

Here’s what I came up with. Our eight great products and services:

1. 24/7 Mobile Technology, Offering a Personal Financial Webpage, Replete with Consolidated Financial Information and Secure Digital Data Storage, That is Both User-Friendly and Free of Charge;

2. Confidential, Courteous, Second-to-None Customer Service;

3. Reliable, Risk-Aware Financial Advice, Relevant to One’s Personal Situation;

4. A Non-Discriminatory, Enhanced Trading Platform that Allows Clients, Big and Small Alike, to Trade Simultaneously, Side-by-Side.

5. Frequent Communiques with Clients via our “Advice for the Good Life” Blog, Newsletter, and Approved Social Media Platforms—Facebook, Linked In, and Twitter;

6. A Competitive, Fair, Transparent Fee Structure that Seeks to Reduce the Excessive, Unnecessary Erosion of Capital over Time;

7. A Consistent, Disciplined, Trend-Following Approach to Investing that Aims at Positioning Clients in Front of Bullish Market Trends and Managing Risk during Downturns; and,

8. A Choice of Trustworthy, Household Names to Custody Securities (LPL Financial, Charles Schwab, TD Ameritrade, Fidelity, and TIAA/CREF).

Hopefully, the real judges—our clients, first and foremost, Susanne(!)—agree.