The DOL ruling is out. So what now? It’s time to step off the emotional roller coaster and get back to finding new clients.
For as long as I can remember, industry experts have advocated that advisors partner with other professionals — like CPAs or mortgage brokers — to build new referral pipelines. This makes sense in theory. But very few advisors actually put the effort into making that pipeline a reality. They nod their heads at the concept of forming professional partnerships and either make a half-hearted effort at getting started or don’t even bother to try in the first place.
There are two major truths for professional partnerships:
They can be incredibly lucrative sources of new, high-value clients.
They take work and effort to build, just like a traditional sales pipeline.
The second part is where many advisors stumble. They practice their sales process. They refine their service model. They perfect their seminar and webinar approach. They track and revise their drip marketing systems. But when it comes to developing an effective partnership, they take one shot and stop.
This is a like a basketball player who struggles with free throws yet refuses to correct his or her technique. If you don’t force yourself to endure the temporary discomfort up front, you won’t sink the game-winning shot when it matters most.
If you want the return from professional partnerships, here are some of the steps you need to take:
1. Rethink the idea of a referral network.
A successful partnership requires collaboration that goes deeper than a simple business card handoff. To effectively generate a two-way street of new client opportunities, your professional partnerships should include activities like shared advertising, joint events, and other activities where you and your partner are in it together.
2. Remember that forming a partnership is a sales process.
It will take a new version of the sales process to convince a professional to become a partner. Just as you do with a prospect, you need to generate interest, demonstrate value, and build trust. This, of course, takes practice, but treating it as a process will help you to approach the challenge with the right mindset.