Referrals or Collaboration?

Realizing that my husband and I were long past due for updating our estate documents, I asked a local financial planner for a referral. He suggested meeting with Lisa G., whose office is not far from my home.

I took our documents as well as some notes about what we wanted to do and headed out to her office. After she learned that I coach financial advisors and planners, she offered a thought-provoking observation.

“I find it interesting,” she said, “that so very few financial planners actually accompany their clients to meet with me.” So of course, I asked why she thought that was unusual. She said she thought they were missing a major opportunity.

“Why is that?” I asked.

Here’s what she said. “First, if they came with their clients, they would be making the introduction. It would communicate to the clients that their advisor already knew me, believed I was the best attorney for their situation, and now had the opportunity to connect us by accompanying them to my office.

“Second, they would have prepared their clients for the meeting – making sure that they brought all the correct documents, helped them clarify their goals, and in general saved us a lot of time (which the clients pay for, of course) at the meeting.

“Third, their clients would have had an opportunity to see how their advisor and attorney interacted. They could see us collaborating together on their behalf.

“And finally, I would have been able to watch how the advisor interacted with these clients. Did he or she speak respectfully to them? Did they give the clients the space to share their own concerns and ideas? If so, it would have confirmed in my mind that I could potentially refer my clients to the advisor based on how I observed them together.”

What about you? Do you attend COI meetings with your clients? Or do you simply pass along a name and hope for the best?

Considering Lisa says it’s a major opportunity, perhaps it’s time to move from referrals to collaboration!

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