During an informal discussion group at the American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries Annual Conference, participants noted that certified public accountants, recordkeepers and third-party administrators can be good referral sources. They suggested as well that advisers make themselves available as a resource. Let the providers you work with know you are available to help if they or clients have questions. A good relationship with a provider may also lead to referrals of clients that have issues with their retirement plans.
Questions to ask include:
- Who has historically sent you new business?
- Are you getting the same level of business from them?
- How can you rekindle those relationships?
- What type of follow-up do you use to develop existing relationships?
- Where do you see future referrals coming from?
- How does your entire staff fit into business development with existing clients and referral sources?
Plan advisers should help their staff learn to identify new opportunities. Also, take note of who referred clients to you, and track the return on investment for marketing efforts.
Reaching out in indirect ways was discussed, by increasing Internet presence or offering yourself as a thought leader. One suggestion is to use Google for search engine optimization (SEO) to your website. Internet blogs and byline articles for online and print publications can also establish you as a thought leader. People or firms who recognize your name and view you as knowledgeable are likelier to approach you.
Finally, you can make contacts and gain potential clients with community involvement. Volunteering, joining an organization such as a Rotary club or advancing to board membership in a community group are ways to establish relationships that could lead to business wins.