You don’t have to go it alone, but finding the right partner is critical.
Advisors should have at least one alliance with a certified public accountant, says Mike Greene, senior vice president of Advisor Business Development Group and Financial Planning for Ameriprise Financial.
“You just can’t serve clients well if you don’t have the setup,” he says. “Find CPAs that have mutual expectations and accountability baked in.”
Start by asking one of your clients to connect you with their CPA, say Michael Silver and Eric Sheikowitz, co-founders of Focus Partners.
“Schedule a meeting with a client’s trusted advisor,” Sheikowitz says. “And consider starting with the Big A’s” -- accountants and attorneys. “Eventually, align yourself with your client’s power team and work toward a mutually beneficial referral relationship.”
Why the Big A’s? “It’s the path of least resistance,” says Silver. “By reaching out to the trusted advisors or other professionals, like doctors and lawyers, that your clients already work with, you can build your own internal database.”
To deepen these relationships, provide the people in your referral network with a brief description of how you work with prospects they refer to you, says Laura Kogen, vice president of practice management and consulting for Fidelity Investments.
Describe your prospect phases and how long it will take, she says. “This gets someone more comfortable with what happens to someone he or she refers.”
Then be sure to check back in at least quarterly to give an update on the referrals that person has made, Kogen says. “Explain who became new clients and why; who didn't and why; and who is still in the pipeline process with you.”