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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Residential Edition   |   March 2015

Digging Deep With Financial Advisers

Become a reliable resource to build lasting relationships with referral partners

Becoming a go-to resource for financial advisers may not be easy, but it can be highly lucrative in terms of building a solid referral network. And, as many mortgage brokers and bankers already know, building a referral network in this business is the key to longevity.

Before we get into the steps of targeting and working with financial advisers, however, let’s examine why you should work with these professionals in the first place. The answer is simple: A few well-developed relationships with financial advisers can be a significant boon to your business if you play your cards right.

Establishing trust is often one of the biggest hurdles to overcome when working with new clients. It’s sometimes said that there are two types of clients: those who are referred and everyone else. As a loan officer, you can get leads from direct marketing all day long, but unless someone trusts you deeply, it’s difficult to become a trusted adviser to that client. Only after under-promising and over-delivering on service do you become the trusted financial professional most clients are looking for.

On the other hand, if you receive a referral from a highly touted financial adviser, a sense of trust is present from the start of your relationship with that client. A referral from a financial adviser gives clients the impression that you must be a trusted part of that adviser’s network, and that the adviser is confident in your ability to get the job done.

Now that you understand the value of working with financial advisers, let’s examine the process of building relationships with a few solid professionals in this field. This process can be broken into five steps.

1. Find financial advisers

This can be a difficult first step because of “analysis paralysis.” There are so many ways to find financial advisers — search engines, top 100 rankings, referrals, etc. — that it can sometimes feel overwhelming.

You’re trying to build a trusting referral-based relationship, so the best way to build a list of names is to ask your past clients, friends and family for referrals. Ask for introductions to these financial advisers via e-mail, phone, in person or however else you like to be referred. You will need a list of 10 to 20 different names to start with.

Alternatively, search the Internet for the top financial advisers in your city. You’ll want the heavy hitters, so check the names that come up at the top of the search-engine page first. These are professionals who spend

money looking good, and often have plenty of clients. It can be more difficult to build a relationship with these non-referred advisers, however, because they don’t know you or anyone who might vouch for you, so they have no reason to trust you yet.

2. Schedule meetings

Once you have your list of 10 to 20 financial advisers, start setting up meetings to get to know them and their work. To help get in the door, find a way to differentiate yourself from all other mortgage professionals out there.

If you have mortgage analysis software or an awesome customer-relationship management system, this would be an excellent time to tout these products.

As new clients come in the door from other sources, make a point in your
initial interviews to refer these clients to your new adviser partner.

Setting up meetings with referred financial advisers should be done by whoever gave you the referral. Because you’re being referred, there should be a bit of trust already associated with your name through that referral source. Specify to each contact that you want to meet for business purposes and not to become a client.

If, however, you’re working from a cold list, get an assistant to set up the meetings for you. In doing so, you’ll appear more professional. The adviser will think you have a system in place because you have a team doing non-income generating activities for you like making cold calls to set up appointments. Heavy-hitting advisers all have assistants, as well, so your assistant will be calling their assistants.

At the end of your meeting, always ask how the adviser likes to be referred. This is an important step to take because it lets the adviser know that a referral is already on its way, which brings us to the next step in the process.

3. Provide referrals

Once you have a meeting with a given adviser, go through your personal database and find someone you think would make a great referral for that financial adviser. The more paper assets your referral has, the better. Many advisers love these types of clients because managing substantial portfolios can translate to big paydays for them.

The importance of this step cannot be stressed enough, but remember that you cannot get any sort of kickback for giving the referral, according to the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, and you shouldn’t expect anything in return anyway. Consider how you feel after receiving a referral, however. Most likely, you feel obligated to return the referral, and that is likely how the financial adviser will feel as well. Sooner or later, the adviser will return the favor, and that is exactly what you want.

4. Receive referrals

Once you refer one of your clients to an adviser and have, at some point, received one in return, this is your chance to shine. You should do your absolute best job of servicing the needs of that referred client in a professional manner. Don’t forget to under-promise and over-deliver on your services, and not the other way around.

Hold nothing back when it comes to this step. Have clear, professional communications with the referred client and the adviser who referred the deal to you. Be transparent. Close the deal quickly. Make it your mission to wow the client and your new referral partner in kind.

5. Build a relationship

By performing at your best on step four, you’re going to open up a lot of doors. If you do an amazing job with the first referral, you’ll likely build a solid amount of trust with the given financial adviser. As new clients come in the door from other sources, make a point in your initial interviews to refer these clients to your new adviser partner. It’s almost guaranteed that the adviser will do the same thing and be on the lookout for clients to send your way, as well.

As you continue to give referrals to your financial adviser partner, your relationship with that professional will blossom. Repeat the process with other financial advisers you want to do business with. If you share the wealth by giving leads to all your advisers, your business will become rich with referred deals.

•  •  •

Building deep relationships with a hand full of financial advisers is a proven business model to follow for a mortgage loan originator. Financial advisers command a high level of trust with their clients, and when they refer clients to you, a great deal of that trust extends to you as well. If you do a good job establishing partnerships with these trusted professionals, your business will be secured with annuity income down the road. 


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