Suppose someone you never met before comes up to you and asks whether they can stay at your house or someone you never heard of, all of a sudden wants to be your partner and best friend. Any business relationship and any personal relationship you have requires trust and trust is something that doesn’t develop overnight.
When I started my own law practice over 5 years ago, I knew that I needed time to develop my business. Financial advisors and third party administrators weren’t going to recommend their clients to me based on a couple of articles I wrote or a quick meeting. It was going to take time in developing relationships by building my reputation and by developing trust.
Yet I’m always baffled by the broker who calls me up out of the blue and starts inquiring about my clients and whether my clients are happy with their current financial advisor, which is disconcerting to me when a good chunk of the time, a financial advisor has referred me this client. Even if a financial advisor didn’t refer me this client, I barely know this broker. I can recall how many times in my law practice where I met an insurance agent to network and all of a sudden, they are trying to sell me life insurance that I couldn’t afford and didn’t need.
When I talk to other retirement plan providers, I don’t ask them which ERISA attorney they work with. These people know what I do and if they like what they hear from me or see what I do, then maybe they will hire me or refer me when there is a need for an ERISA attorney.
Networking and developing relationships in this business is like dating. It’s a process, it takes time, and most of the time, you’ll come up short if you cut to the hoop too quickly.
Whether it’s working with clients or other retirement plan providers, you need to know that any worthwhile relationship will take time and requires trust.