I made peace with one of the biggest enemies I had professionally and it’s something I’m proud of. We both admitted we were wrong and acted in haste because of a lack of communication and it was good for business to make peace. There was something in it for both of us.
Around the same time I had this fallout professionally, I had a personal relationship that went up in smoke (it was coincidence, I assure you). Now that relationship has not been repaired because the side who hurt me still thinks they did nothing wrong and there is nothing in it for me to make peace because when friend or family isn’t there for you when you really need them, what use are they?
When it comes to making friends in the retirement plan business or trying to make it in the retirement plan business, you have to understand that the other side needs to find something in it for them.
When I worked at that law firm to try to build a national ERISA practice, I decided to start relationships with financial advisors and third party administrators (TPAs) because the law firm partners weren’t referring me business even though there was something financially in it for them. When I met advisors and TPAs to tell them how my practice would help their plan sponsor clients, there was a little interest. I only started to gain traction when I had my own practice and my articles helped these advisors and TPAs in their marketing. Some of the time, people will help you. When they discover you could help them, almost all of the time people will help you. It’s human nature for people to be selfish, use that knowledge to help you in your selfish pursuits.
On LinkedIn, I post a lot. One time I posted and some insurance agent that I didn’t know posted after one of my posts and asked me when I can sit down with him and discuss with him what he could do for my clients, First off, I didn’t know him and I thought that was way too forward. Secondly, I think the advisors or TPAs who referred me these clients would have a problem with that. I don’t suppose the agent thought what might be in it for me.
Any relationship in the retirement plan business must be mutually beneficial to succeed. So rather than just looking what’s in it for you, ask yourself what’s in it for the other side.