3 Steps to Drive More Referrals by Leveraging Your Network

Referrals are an imperative part of every advisor’s practice, but most advisors only focus on driving referrals from clients instead of gaining them through strategic partnerships. Building a professional network is vital to growing your business and helps you create a deeper connection in your community.

This post will help you understand the types of partnerships to include in your network, how to build your relationships, and what marketing efforts you can implement together.

1. Choose the best network for your practice.

Finding the right professionals and businesses is the first step to a successful partnership. You want to choose someone with similar clientele and business goals so your partnership is aligned with one another. The most common business connections we see include estate attorneys, divorce attorneys, and CPAs.
While these are important for every advisor to have, we can’t forget about other opportunities you may not think of right away. These connections could include realtors, travel agents, assisted living directors, and many more.
Take a minute and think about what your clients like to do or what other services they need during this phase in their life. Is there a specific person or business who helps them achieve these goals you can partner with?

2. Establish goals.

Once you find the right connections for your business, it’s important to establish goals for the partnership. You should recognize the value of each other’s services and the benefits you can both bring to your clientele.
Spend some time in their office with their staff, and do a mock meeting as if you were a client so you know exactly how to position their brand and services. Don’t forget to host them in your office and build that experience.
Discuss what your ideal clients look like and how you typically help that demographic solve an issue with your services. Also, define how many referrals each of you expect over the next year, especially if you partner together in marketing efforts. The more you know and understand about each other’s businesses, the better the partnership will be.

3. Create growth opportunities.

There are a couple of different ways to start generating referrals for one another. The most popular tactic we see is when advisors and their strategic partners plan Client Appreciation Events and bring their clients together to create a low-key and welcoming environment. Another big advantage to hosting events together is splitting the cost.

Make sure you plan an event that would be enjoyed by most clientele. For instance, if you partner with a travel agent, plan an “Around the World” food tasting at a local event space, high-end grocery store, or a restaurant with a private room. If you partner with a CPA, plan a shredding event after tax season to get rid of all the unnecessary papers your clients don’t need to save.

Whatever the event might be, you should each take 5–10 minutes to welcome the crowd, introduce your practice and staff, and help them understand the benefits of sitting down with you. Since this is a Client Appreciation Event, don’t go overboard with a full presentation, and keep it quick and casual to create an inviting environment.

You don’t have to rely strictly on events either. If you partner with a real estate agent, take advantage of the “Welcome to the Neighborhood” package they might give to each client. Ask to insert your brochure or welcome folder into their gift basket for their clients who fit your demographic.

Also, be sure to include each other on your websites. Under your staff bios, include a section titled “Strategic Partners” where you include their brief bio and a link to their website. If you have a radio show, ask them to be a guest so they can promote their business, and in exchange, you can speak at their next event.

Bottom line: There are many advantages to working with other local professionals to expand your reach and meet new clients, and it all starts with a plan:
1. Identify the type of professionals you want to work with and if their client base would match your ideal demographic.
2. Sit down with partners to establish the goals of the partnerships and how you can help each other grow. Understand each other’s businesses and the values behind each service so you properly position the business correctly.
3. Create the right marketing plan for you both and implement right away.
And for more tips on how to drive referrals, call your marketing manager today.