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Nine Ways to Break Out of a Transaction-Based Referral Mentality

How to destroy quid pro quo.

Referrals represent a major source of frustration for most legal, tax and financial professionals.

The general mindset seems to be that if I refer a new prospect or client to you, then it’s incumbent on you to refer one to me in return. While hopefully no one expects a direct tit for tat, it’s perceived that the relationship’s balance depends on a roughly even exchange.

The greater the imbalance, the more likely it is that the party referring more and receiving less becomes disenchanted.

Attorneys, CPAs, financial advisors, insurance professionals, banks and trust companies should seek to amalgamate their collective abilities to more fully and capably serve their respective client bases.

Transforming your center of influence (COI) relationships away from their quid pro quo status and into a value creation proposition simply requires a little brainstorming.

The first step is realizing the root of that quid pro quo mindset—that it’s a transaction-based mentality—and that will put you on the road to solving the problem. Understanding the common concerns and frustrations related to quid pro quo opens the door to constructive dialogue with your COIs.

The idea is to determine how you can add value and enhance or expand your COI’s influence and relationships, which includes not only referred clients but also other COIs and leaders in your community. Here are several ideas that have worked for me over the years.

This gallery is adapted from the author’s original article in the February 2019 issue of Trusts & Estates.

TAGS: Prospecting
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