Concept: Having a team of professional behind you makes you look increasingly valuable to a client with large investment, estate or tax problems. Build a network of professionals to help your clientís overall financial plan. Have a list handy to refer clients to and to market your services and education to these professionals.
Objective: To help your clients overall financial planning needs and gain referrals by referring your clients to your external team of professionals. To gain years of valuable advice and knowledge by building a team of professionals. To also make yourself more referable
Strategy: I would set up a team of professionals that are currently not working with several other financial planners so they can refer business to you and build trust together. Also look for the best people, strive to find the best and tell them that you only want the best for your clients. Build the relationship by doing seminars and educational sessions for them called center of influence seminars. I would ask for their permission to publish a list of your team Ė see team list and add their email and website links to your website under your professional team.
Grantís Tip: How do you find the best? If you donít get a copy of the clientís tax return and will, then at least have the name of their accountant and lawyer on your database. If you donít have this information, get it. Ask your clients if their happy with their accountant, lawyer, mortgage person, realtor, etc. If they are then get the name and let them know that you will contact that professional because you are always looking for great professionals on your team. Then you have an opportunity to meet a new professional through your client. The accountant will want to meet with you because they will not want to upset their satisfied client, so you now have a new professional to meet. If you client says theyíre not happy with them, then you have a fantastic referral opportunity to a professional on your team. Either way it is a win-win.
You can also send out a letter to your clients as a questionnaire and let them know that you are looking for their best interests in building a great resource team to help them. If they have a great accountant or lawyer etc., then you want to hear about them and possible add them to your list. Eventually other professionals will hear about your team list and will want to get on the list, especially if you print it and send it to your clients as a resource.
Most advisors deal with a few professionals, but are frustrated sometimes by the lack of referrals returned to them. So they either get discouraged at sending out referrals or try to find a few more centers of influence. I have found that a lot of advisors are either intimidated or frustrated with this process. Those advisors usually have less than five people to refer business to. Why not have a team of 10-20-30 people and have them complete with the referrals you give out. Make it a rule of thumb that you try to give out one referral per day. That can add up to a lot of referrals in one year and only giving them to five people might not be enough unless you have a partnership arrangement which is fully disclosed to the client. Some top advisors pay for top clients tax returns as part of their services and find an accountant who will give a bulk rate on tax returns.
Look for marketers. Some accountants and centers of influence may like marketing as much as you and you might find synergies in your marketing. You will be more likely to get referrals back from a firm that understands marketing and referrals. You can usually tell if they understand marketing by their yellow page ad or other materials such as brochures.
Make sure you donít give the center of influence your business card. They think that they will sit back and hand out your business card and tell the client, call this guy because he is a great financial advisor. The client rarely calls. Instead tell them that if they have a referral for you to call you with the clients name and number and let the clients know that I will be calling them. That way the client gets contacted by us instead of them handing out a business card. I have heard accountants say to me," I handed out a lot of your business cards" did any of them call"? My response is to scratch them off my list because I never give my business cards to centers of influence. They must call me with the information. Sometimes they will also call two financial advisors to make sure they are unbiased in their referrals. Remember to teach them how to refer business to you.
The magic six
On my database management system we created
six fields for centers of influence. The six are accountant /tax professional, lawyer / realtor / mortgage professional / insurance agent and banker. People always ask why the banker, because if you run a successful small business, you have a good banker who knows where the money is. I would ask my top clients for these names. If you have 50 top clients and you complete these 6 fields for each that is 300 potential centers of influence on your database to meet and build strategic alliances with.
"I have always wanted to be somebody, but I see now I should have been more specific." Lily Tomlin
"Success comes to those who set goals and pursue them regardless of obstacles and disappointments."
Copyright 2003 By: Jay Conrad Levinson and Grant W. Hicks, C.I.M - Co-author of "Guerrilla
Marketing For Financial Advisors", Trafford Publishing 2003.