David Chalmers: We pursue several avenues for networking, encouraging referrals from current clients, and building relationships with other professionals in our area. All of these activities have contributed to getting the word out about our firm and sustaining continued business growth.
A few examples of this include the following:
- Partnering with a property and casualty (P&C) insurance agency to cross-refer clients where appropriate. Many of our financial-planning clients wish to have an analysis of their P&C coverages, and we are pleased to refer them to this agency. Conversely, clients of the agency are informed about our capabilities and may choose to come in for an informational session about our financial and wealth-management services.
- Working with members of local police departments to assist them with retirement-planning needs. We are experienced in developing tax-efficient income plans to help them complement their pensions. These officers often provide referrals to other members of their departments. We also hold financial education events specifically for police officers or other public employees such as schoolteachers.
- Providing referrals to an accountant we work with for those clients looking for tax services. In turn, clients of this tax practice are often referred to our firm. This includes business owners looking to develop a sound business exit plan or those interested in personal financial-planning services.
- Retirement planning for physician groups. This usually entails helping them create a structure for their practices that allows members of the group to retire, and succession planning for partners at different stages of their careers. It is typically a very involved undertaking that they had not previously addressed. Once completed, it can provide a stronger practice model with more flexibility for all partners. As we engage with medical practices, we are able to network with other physicians and develop new client opportunities.
Keith Herman: To build on David’s point, we also work with other professionals in our community in terms of building awareness of each other’s services and making referrals in situations where it is appropriate. These may be estate attorneys or professionals in the banking and mortgage areas. We recently held an entertainment event related to the men’s NCAA basketball tournament, inviting mortgage brokers and real estate agents to an “open house” at a local restaurant. We had about 40 people show up, and that was a great way to network with other professionals.
I am very involved with the Masonic fraternal organization and have held officer positions in the past. Currently, I am a board member and trustee of the Masonic Charity Foundation, which has a balance sheet close to $200 million. I also have been very active with local, county, and state school board organizations and am two-term president of the local school board. This has lent itself to organic networking, as invariably someone will ask what I do for a living in the normal course of working together.
I speak often to various groups, primarily Masons, throughout New Jersey. The topics I lecture on include the fundamentals of good governance, how to develop better newsletter content, planning for effective distribution of content, and public-speaking techniques to improve message delivery. This is also an excellent way to build my personal network, which eventually may lead to having informational discussions about our firm’s services with those who have attended my presentations.
- Partnering with other financial professionals can lead to cross-referrals.
- Target segments offer unique opportunities for introductions to prospective clients.
- Educational events and speaking engagements increase visibility for an advisory firm.
Disclosure: Securities offered through United Planners Financial Services of America Inc., member FINRA, SIPC. Advisory services offered through United Planners Financial Services of America Inc., a registered investment advisor. Haddon Financial Solutions LLC is independent from United Planners.
Photography by Deirdre Ryan