When I was first being trained in marketing myself as an advisor, I was told not to spend much time getting to know other advisors. Rather, I should spend as much time as possible meeting with prospects.
I didnt completely agree with that advice then, and I still dont. In fact, I've seen my relationships with peers pay off twice recently.
There's an advisor I've known for six years through a Gen Y networking group. He has my utmost respect as a financial planner and business owner, and although we've never actually met, we've spoken on the phone and via email and forums.
He spontaneously reached out to me via Twitter one night recently and told me he was suggesting that a freelance writer get in touch with me. As it turned out, the writer was writing an article for the National Education Association website and newsletter -- and he wanted to interview me.
That may not mean much to you, but I almost fell off my chair. The NEA is the national membership organization for about 3 million teachers -- which, as you probably know by now, are my target market. This kind of exposure could dramatically change my practice.
As I was getting ready to launch my own RIA, I used another advisor as a mentor. She has a practice of her own, but it is geared toward a specific niche -- and more important, it's not the same niche I'm in. In one of our calls, she mentioned that she had been speaking to her daughters teacher about personal finance. Knowing that my niche is teachers and their families, she told me that she would be putting the teacher in touch with me.
This is not the type of referral that I think will happen frequently, but I do believe it will happen every now and again. When advisors befriend each other, and respect the work that each other do, it adds to the roster of people willing to help grow your business.