When proposed business alliances don’t produce mutual referrals, it is disappointing and frustrating. However in the research we have done on cases of successful and not-so-successful alliances, it seems to come down to a few clear reasons for failure.
If your strategic alliance partnership is not working, it is almost always due to one of the following three reasons:
1) The wrong professional
You are attempting to have a referring alliance with the wrong professional. If a person does not have the propensity to refer their clients to other professionals, they are slow to trust, or are sole-focused on their own deliverable. The alliance will likely never work. Just because a professional has a client base of people that are a fit for what you do and need your services does not mean that the professional will be proactive in sharing you with those clients. It is a no- or never-win situation.
2) The wrong message
If you have not clearly shared and described what you do and why you are unique with the potential alliance, they may never have a reason to mention you to someone else. You need to build credibility, establish areas of specialty and show that you have expertise that their clients need. If you don’t share what you do in a clear and compelling way, it is also a no- or never-win situation.
3) The wrong firm
Most alliance referrals come from firms that are actively seeking new clients. When a firm is a stagnant mature firm (albeit a successful one), they are not necessarily creating new relationships, meeting with prospects and taking on new clients. When a firm is in the growth mode, they are meeting with new clients and are more likely to have many things to share with them, including referrals
. When a firm has had a client for the past 20 years, why now would a referral to a financial advisor be made? Another no- or never-win situation.
If you have not had a successful referring alliance partnership in a while, ask yourself what you may be doing wrong? It could be something you are, or are not, doing. Most likely, however, it is not you at all! It just may be who they are. Give yourself a chance for success by finding the right people, the right message for them and the right firms to work with. It certainly makes for a much better win-win relationship.