I have never been a big fan of the jargon that exists in this space: "Book of business", "production", "circle of influence" and "holistic planning", just to name a few. To me, they speak more to the advisor’s interests, or are simply not intuitive to a client. It’s the lexicon of salesmanship rather than stewardship. I would much rather you refer to your value as being addressed by a panoramic process. To your network of trusted service providers, as a value-added support team. Some might consider that semantics, but I think everything matters and that everything should be client-centered.
To that end, I’d like you to consider formalizing how you engage other professionals into your process such as trusted accountants, estate planning attorneys, and real-estate agents to name a few. Rather than simply referring clients out to a different professional, formally create a listing of trusted and vetted professionals. There could be two tiers - core strategic partners that compliment your technical ability as well as others, including clients, who deliver value in a specific area. Consider this; I’m sure you’ve had clients who have recently opened up to you and possibly even started baring their soul to you about the things going on in their lives. Good and bad, silver linings about new or rekindled hobbies and interests. Getting into shape, taking better care of themselves. Newly discovered benevolent activities and the like, all the way across the spectrum to relationship, strains, fears, and anxieties, even mental health issues and the like. Make a listing of services - not specifically names, but areas of expertise – from which a professional provider can reach out to those specialists and inform them that you want to create a value-added support team from your vast array of relationships, whereby you could introduce someone where there’s a potential need.
If they see the merit in being involved, ask them “if an opportunity presents itself, where I can make an introduction, what would you like me to say? How would you like me to describe you?” Be ready for a very lively conversation, punctuated by the same question asked of you, to which of course you can reply by quickly outlining the strength of your people, the quality of your practice and the panoramic nature of your process. You can even go so far as to exchange introductory kits to bridge intent to actual consent. When it comes to introductions, stirring the pot like this will create a culture of advocacy and reciprocity and an elevated client experience. You will find yourself with more opportunities to collaborate in terms of events, webinars, and in social media, so that you can be exposed to the first-degree-of-separation relationships. That could be not only your MVPs, but their clients and acquaintances, some of whom could be your future most valuable prospects.
I don’t want to oversimplify this initiative. It requires a logistical process, a commitment and patience. If you want it to become a steady burner, rather than a shooting star, you can add value to client relationships, making them more “sticky.” You convert professional relationships into a mutually beneficial two-way street network, and you can be consistently introduced to more entrepreneurs and professionals that closely resemble your ideal client profile. There is an art and science to this, but in the end, giving does start the receiving process.
Contributed by: Duncan MacPherson