As you gather people into your professional network you will find that fellow advisors fall into one of two categories: Referral Sources and Resources.
Initially, any non-competing advisor has the potential to become a Referral Source. In your hopes to realize this potential, you may invest time into the relationship or even refer one of your clients to them. But eventually you will find that the only benefit they can provide is to offer their services to your clients. Whether it is because of their business model, their clientele, or their disposition, they are not able to send you any business. They are simply a Resource.
A Referral Source, on the other hand, participates proactively in a reciprocal business relationship. They show their gratitude for your consideration by referring their clients and contacts to you.
A savvy networker knows the difference between these two categories and sets her expectations accordingly. Resources are valuable in that they enhance your position as a trusted advisor to your clients. The more Resources you have, the more you will find that your clients call on you simply because they know that if you can’t personally solve their problem, you’ll know someone who can. This helps to ensure a long-term relationship with your client base.
So before you write off an unproductive Referral Source, consider whether he can be recategorized as a valuable Resource, because a productive network consists of both.