larly among other advisors, says Sullivan, because
ultimately the quality of their work with your
clients will reflect back on you either positively or
negatively. “You want to be sure their ethics and
way of doing business align with yours.”
“It’s important to have conversations [with
potential strategic partners],” adds Parks, “to
understand who they prefer to work with, the ap-
proach they use with clients, and whether they’re
open to me being part of the meetings they have
with my clients, because many times, I want to be
in those meetings to be sure all the pieces of the
plan fit together.”
Relationships with depth
Most strategic alliances don’t run on auto-pilot.
Keeping them mutually productive requires time,
effort and creativity.
Indianer says she and her team at Lincoln make
a point of regularly attending conferences, meetings and other events involving school business
officials and educational groups. To get a foot in
the door, Lincoln has earned “vendor provider”
status with some school districts, meaning its advisors can attend targeted business events alongside other vendors like food providers, architects
and paper suppliers.
To further deepen and leverage the strategic
relationships they have established in the education community, Lincoln advisors also provide
free seminars and workshops for school employees on subjects like pensions, Social Security and
comprehensive financial planning. “Hopefully they
like us, come to trust us and want to work with
us because they believe we can help them,” says
If you haven’t had a successful referral partnership in a while, you may be
asking yourself what you’re doing wrong. It could be, though, that it’s not you.
Oftentimes, it’s what the other person or company is or isn’t doing.
When business alliances don’t produce referrals, it’s disappointing and frustrating.
However, in the research we have done on cases of successful and not-so-successful
alliances, failure seems to be caused by a few clear issues. So before we throw in the
towel on referral partnerships with other professionals, it may be worthwhile to address
these key issues.
1The wrong professional. You may be attempting to have a referral partnership with the wrong professional. Some people are simply not inclined to refer their clients to other professionals. They are slow to trust or are solely focused on their own business situation. This alliance will likely never work. Just because someone has a client base that’s a good fit for what you do, doesn’t mean that person will be proactive in sharing you with those clients. It’s time to take these people off your list and find others.
Here are 3 REASONS your referral partnership
might not be working:
By Maribeth Kuzmeski
regional vice president,