How working with both accountants and planners can lead to referral relationships.
Whilst it’s not something that we’ve deliberately set out to do, coaching both accountants and financial planners has provided the opportunity to foster some promising referral relationships. This article discusses how these have come about, identifies helpful preparation to be referral-ready and highlights some aspects where a third party can assist.
For both accounting and financial planning practitioners seeking to grow their firms, a natural strategy is to align with someone who is like minded and working with similar clients. To be referred new clients is always great but opportunities arising to provide new services for existing clients should not be overlooked.
As a coach, knowing what a firm is looking to achieve, being aware of its capabilities plus having a sense of personalities and values come with the territory i.e. we really get to understand the practices which attend our coaching program and/or Breakaway business planning workshop. And it’s this knowledge which is useful in terms of identifying a potential “match”.
In this regard, our advantage is having collectively worked with hundreds of accounting and financial planning firms, we have a deep database that covers many geographic locations.
Getting referral ready
Establishing a referral relationship is similar to purchasing a client base – opportunities don’t come along that often so you have to be ready when something arises.
Our longstanding clients have the advantage of absorbing useful tips on collaboration throughout their coaching journey. Plus there is much useful information to be gained from the books I’ve written on the subject – The Bold Accountant and Partnering with Accountants. I’m also pleased to see that my case study on collaboration, A Stranger in the Office Next Door, has been included in the Public Practice Certificate Course conducted by Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand.
How a coach can assist
We’re happy to facilitate an introduction of an accountant with a financial planner who we believe would be compatible. Often setting the expectation via phone and email of one making contact with the other is sufficient. However, it’s also the case that facilitating an actual meeting can be highly productive. Such a meeting provides the opportunity to work through issues such as whether the accountant is licensed, types of clients to refer, opportunities, responsibility for producing statements of advice and establishing routines for the relationship to prosper.
As those who have been in an effective referral relationship will attest, such collaboration is highly beneficial for the end client as well as being deeply satisfying for the practitioners involved. At Slipstream Coaching we don’t charge for this match making per se. We’re just happy to play a further part in our clients’ success.
Whilst being keen to manage expectations, the Slipstream Coaching team will continue to play a role in establishing collaborative relationships. If this is relevant to your firm’s growth plans, please let us know.
Scott Charlton is a Director of Slipstream Coaching, a company dedicated to assisting financial practitioners achieve their potential. Since 2002, Scott has been applying and refining a practical approach to performance improvement based upon his own experiences as a professional practitioner and from coaching hundreds of financial services firms.
Scott is an author of three books, written for professionals in practice. He is also a Fellow of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand, a member of CPA Australia and an Associate Fellow of Australian Institute of Management.