Aim for quality, not quantity, in nurturing accountants and lawyers for referrals, two Schwab consultants told advisors today.

“Focus on fewer, deeper relationships. No more than six per advisor,” said Liz Manibay and J.P. Simmons, managing directors for Schwab Advisor Services.

Better targeting of these professionals can help advisors more efficiently develop sources of new business, the two said during a seminar on building relations with centers of influence. Manibay and Simmons spoke at the Schwab annual advisor forum in Washington, D.C.

But they warned it takes time, pointing out a study shows over two-thirds of advisors said it took over a year to get a referral from a worker in law or finance. The upside is that sometimes these relationships can last decades, they said.

In presenting themselves as worthy candidates for referrals, advisors need to clearly tell what they offer that their competitors don’t and how their services can complement the offerings that accountants, attorneys—as well as human resources and employee benefit professionals, as well—provide their clients, Manibay and Simmons said.

“Are their ideal clients your ideal clients” is a question that needs to be asked, they said.