To get valued referrals from other professionals, financial advisors should “play quarterback.”
That is, invite a client’s other advisors to an overall planning session frequently or when circumstances change. The other professionals may be impressed by the advisor’s capabilities and send clients in the future.
“I frequently speak with a client’s other advisors,” says Brooke Salvini, a certified financial planner and the principal of Salvini Financial Planning in Avila Beach, Calif.
“I recently referred one of my clients to a [certified public accountant] specializing in business valuations. Then we had a joint meeting to review the report,” Salvini says.
“Previously, when I worked with another client’s CPA on a multiyear tax projection to finalize my Roth [individual retirement account] conversion recommendation, I made sure I was suggesting a tax strategy that coordinated with the other advice my client was receiving,” she says. “Before that, I worked with a client’s estate attorney and CPA to ensure we filed for portability of the spousal estate tax exemption before the deadline.”
Interactions with clients’ other professionals have been “very positive,” Salvini says.
“It’s important to keep the focus on the client, the problem and the solution in a true collaborative manner,” she says.
“It’s not important who identified the opportunity and solution, only that the outcome for the client is beneficial. These relationships with other professionals have led to excellent referrals,” Salvini says.
Becky Krieger, shareholder and senior director for wealth management teams at Accredited Investors Inc. in Edina, Minn., also values other advisors’ expertise.
“We bring in people who are skilled in a particular area, when necessary,” she says. “In addition to accountants and attorneys, we might work with insurance professionals and lenders.”
For instance, Krieger may bring in a client’s attorney when there is a need for estate planning changes. The change could be triggered by a marriage, a divorce, a death in the family, birth of a grandchild, inheritance or an increase in wealth.
“These issues may surface when we have our regular meetings with clients,” Krieger says.
“We often discover that we serve our clients the same way,” Krieger says. “Then the other professional we work with can become a good referral source.”
Krieger recalls receiving a referral from an accountant who had worked with her clients.
“This accountant was working with a business owner who was putting together a succession plan for her company,” she says.
“The business owner was interested in treating her children equally, whether they were participating in the business or not; real estate was involved as well. The accountant recalled that we had some good input in such meetings, so we were asked for some planning scenarios,” Krieger says.
The result of the accountant’s referral: a new qualified client.
“It’s not difficult to get other advisors to come in for these meetings,” Krieger says. “We indicate there might be an opportunity for them to build stronger relationships with a client and also collect fees for, say, drafting a new trust.”
Donald Jay Korn is a New York-based financial writer who contributes to Financial Planning and On Wall Street.
This story is part of a 30-day series on how to generate the best referrals.
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