Find out how you can help your centres of influence

By Susan Yellin | April 23 2014 10:00AM

You’ve been told many times over that your centres of influence are an excellent route to increasing your business.But you’ve had meetings with the lawyer or accountant you refer, even made presentations. Yet they don’t seem to be reciprocating – they aren’t even interested in splitting fees.

The key, says Paul Tindall, executive director of Phoenix CoachingWorks in Burlington, Ont., is to turn tables and actually help out your centres of influence with their business – and in doing so, show the lawyer or accountant that having ties to a financial advisor will actually be good for their business.

Tindall suggests that when talking to an accountant or lawyer or other centre of influence, take the focus completely off their clients and what you can do for those clients. Instead, have a conversation about the accountant or lawyer themselves -- not to sell them a product or to become a client but to discover if they have any challenges in their practice. Generally, says Tindall, professionals all suffer from the same three problems: client retention, getting new clients and meeting the demand for additional services. “The people [advisors] who are successful are looking for those who have challenges within any of those three areas,” says Tindall.

Assuming there is a problem area, he suggests the financial advisor can help coach or train the lawyer or accountant on these problems.

How? Well, for example, an advisor can facilitate a survey of the accountant’s clients and it might well show that the accountant has clients who want additional services from the accountant that he didn’t know about but would generate revenue for his practice. They might also find that there are services that the clients want that only a licensed financial advisor can provide, like insurance and investments, he says.

A survey might also show the accountant that a significant percentage of his clients are not happy with their current financial advisor. “The accountant would not have known that except for the fact that the survey was done.”