I strongly believe working well with others is a trait that will get you far in life, whether at home or in business life. But how exactly do you go about forming a dream team? And how do you convert these informal relationships to more profitable partnerships?
An obvious starting point
Most of our relationships with professional connections; accountants and solicitors, start simply because we have a mutual client in common.
We all work together for the benefit of that client with nothing more expected than the required degree of professionalism to get the job done.
Many times, things go no further than that. But, it’s only natural that if the adviser does a good job, delivering a reliable and effective service, then the other professionals, working for that client, will take notice. In fact, it always amazes me that simply doing what you say you will, when you will say you will, is actually a differentiator.
The two keys to starting a relationship are therefore; reliability and professionalism.
The next level
Over time as you work with accountants or solicitors, for the good of a mutual client, it is only natural that a degree of trust will develop. This can lead to the possibility of a closer relationship, and wider conversations, for the benefit of you, the other professional, and their clients.
It isn’t easy though.
It’s important to differentiate those professionals who want simply to help the odd client out with an introduction to a trusted adviser (and there’s nothing wrong with that), from others who want to form a long-term, and profitable, business relationship.
The scale of relationship with a professional connection runs from informal introductions as and when the need arrives, right through to a formal, and profitable, joint venture.
We have considerable experience in this field and for us, the success of a formal joint venture is entirely down to the commitment of both parties to make it succeed. Without that, the relationship can wither away to nothing very quickly.
In most cases the adviser needs to drive the relationship; the accountant or solicitor has other calls on his or her time, which will take priority. That means the adviser needs to communicate regularly with the connection, preferably spending time in their office on a weekly basis, discussing client work and educate the accountant or solicitor in the ways you can benefit their clients.
There are other ways to find suitable joint venture partners.
Networking and delivering Continuous Professional Development (CPD) to solicitors and accountants via seminars can work well.
But without doubt, our best relationships have started when we worked together for the benefit of a mutual client, allowing trust and understanding to build naturally.