October 3, 2012
One of the biggest mistakes professionals make when setting up referral arrangements is failing to cultivate trust with their centre of influence (COI). This is the finding of Vue Consulting, a specialist training company for professional services firms and advisers.
In a recent website post, Vue Consulting’s Training Consultant, Gareth Smith, said referral partnerships were difficult to establish and must be built on a foundation of trust. He likened discussing potential referrals with a COI before establishing trust as “the equivalent of proposing marriage before actually dating!”.
“Discussing referrals is a serious discussion – one that requires a foundation beneath it. We regularly recommend that professionals slow down their COI prospecting strategy and spend more time building that foundation of trust before holding a (better, more differentiated and more effective) referral discussion,” Mr Smith said.
In order to build this trust, Mr Smith recommended regular engagement between the prospective partners, and suggested the following activities:
- Attending networking events together
- Writing articles for each other’s newsletters
- Workshopping example clients
- Conducting PD sessions for each other’s staff
- Attending training sessions together
- Holding a joint client seminar
Remember you are seeking a holy grail here
“Remember you are seeking a holy grail here. By its very nature it’s going to be a journey and many professionals will fail to finish it. But those that view COI referrals as a 6-18 month strategy will greatly strengthen their business,” he said.
Vue Consulting will be presenting the GenXt Masterclass at this year’s Association of Financial Advisers National Conference. The session, titled ‘Foundations of a Successful Business’, will focus on the three primary prospecting skills necessary to attract new clients.
Click here for more information on the Masterclass or to register for the AFA National Conference.