Five Questions to Help Build a Referral Network

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Continuing to build a network of experts who can help expand your business and provide additional services for clients is essential no matter how long you’ve been an advisor.

Having a stable of experts or centers of influence in related industries can help you meet new client prospects, expand your service model, and increase your productivity.

Think about people your current network or centers of influence. How many “experts” do you know? Are you happy with these relationships? Are they a ”strategic partner” for your business in that they regularly send you quality referrals?

Most financial advisors have attorneys and certified public accountants in their rolodex who are casual referrers of new business. But you should not forget about business and career coaches, human resource managers, assisted living facility managers, mortgage, banking and insurance professionals, and a host of others who can be ideal candidates.

To help you tap into some of these new potential COI strategic partners, take the time to answer these five important questions.

  1.     Who do I know that I haven’t thought about as a potential COI strategic partner before?
  2.     Why would this person want to connect with me? (What value can I offer to his or her business?)
  3.     Why do I want to make this connection? (What value can they offer to my business?)
  4.     How am I going to make this connection?
  5.     Most importantly, how will I keep this connection once I have made it? (How will I routinely evaluate this partnership to be sure we are both adding value?)

Then you’re ready to make your pitch.

Remember that the law of small numbers applies to your strategic COI partners. You certainly don’t need twenty COI partners. Less than five is ideal, as well as manageable to properly maintain a meaningful relationship.

Just like your best clients, these relationships take work. The good news is the payoff is worth the effort you put in.

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