The Secret to Making Center of Influence Relationships Pay Off

The Secret to Making Center of Influence Relationships Pay Off

An exceptional service model can take your business quite far. Add a handful of strong Center of Influence (COI) relationships, and you may have everything you need to drive your growth.
 

Here are some tips for making those relationships perform their best for you:

1. Don’t limit yourself to only attorneys and accountants
 

If you do, you might be raking over the same tired ground again and again—while missing out on huge pockets of opportunity. Suppose you want to target young tech workers starting their first high-paying jobs. Accountants and attorneys don’t know those people. Who does? Parents, grandparents. Recruiters. Maybe leasing agents. If you’re targeting entrepreneurs, cultivate relationships with VCs and private equity firms. Do you serve families dealing with eldercare issues? Get to know geriatric care providers. You may be wondering how to identify all of these untraditional COIs. That’s simple. If you have done a good job defining your ideal client persona, you should have no trouble figuring out who their influences are.

2. Your COIs are valuable to you. Make sure you’re valuable to them
 

Advisors struggle with building COI relationships because they can forget to offer real value. Too often, they start off by talking about their practice and launching right into their standard spiel. Why should COIs care about that? Focus on what you can do for them, not what they can do for you. Start by asking: What are your clients most concerned about? What keeps them up at night? What do they ask about—and who is educating them? Also remember to ask about your COI’s concerns as a business owner. Once you have the answers, explain how you can help. If you promise to take their burdens away, you can be the hero.

3. Treat your COIs like top clients
 

Advisors wine and dine their top clients, yet rarely think of doing the same for a COI—despite the fact that a rich source of referrals may be worth far more to a business over the long run. Treat your COIs well. Take them out to dinner to show your appreciation. Send holiday gifts to their office. Take them to sporting events, and give them tickets to bring along their own clients.

Most importantly, learn how your COIs want the relationship to operate. Maybe socializing isn’t important to them. Instead, they want to feel confident about the clients they’re sending you; after all, their own reputations are at stake. In that case, put in place a communications strategy to thank COIs for each referral, tell them when you met the client, and updates them when you start managing the client’s assets.

4. Market to COIs—and for them
 

Plan marketing campaigns that target COIs. Start with thorough background research—finding out what they like to read, whether they are receptive to information, and how you can educate without annoying them. Some advisors also find great success marketing for their COIs, running programs to generate leads for them. For example, if you publish a newsletter, invite a COI to write an article that you circulate to your own clients.

Your service model plus your COI relationships are the two cornerstones of building your business. Augment with other layers of marketing if you wish, but make sure you get the foundation right.

Megan Carpenter
Marketing
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Megan is CEO & Co-Founder at FiComm Partners, LLC. Her team develops winning communications strategies for entrepreneurs in the independent advisory community, and busines ... Click for full bio

Most Read IRIS Articles of the Week (March 20 - 24)

Most Read IRIS Articles of the Week (March 20 - 24)

Here’s a look at the Top 11 Most Viewed Articles of the Week on IRIS.xyz, March 20 - 24, 2017 


Click the headline to read the full article.  Enjoy!



1. Facing a Massive Menu of ETFs? 4 Steps for Smart Choices


In the world of ETFs, advisors face a similar challenge. Simply put, the menu of ETFs is massive. And while advisors used to debate only about the merits of active versus passive investing ... — Jillian DelSignore

2. 5 Reasons Not to Run From REITs During Rising Interest Rates


Here are five reasons why we believe simply shifting your strategy, but not running from REITs, may provide desired yield—even in the face of yet another rate hike ... — Salvatore Bruno

3. The Impact of Working with a Narcissist


There are different types of narcissists but handling them is always the same: be humble, don’t engage. — Tanya Beaudry

4. Advisors: How to Get Referred


Use these simple tips to establish and grow valuable relationships with Centers of Influence to have them recommend you to their best clients. — Paul Kingsman

5. Five Reasons Why You're Not Getting Referrals


​Are you getting enough qualified referrals from people within your network? Or are you relationship rich but referral poor? — James Pollard

6. Understanding ETF Liquidity and Trading


ETFs offer attractive features—access to a broad range of asset classes, sectors and styles in a liquid, transparent and cost-effective vehicle. But before using that vehicle, it’s helpful to understand how it works ... — ProShares

7. McMobile: Will McDonald’s Mobile Strategy Kill the Drive-thru?


While I personally won’t forsake my Starbucks ritual for McDonalds’ curbside delivery, I have to concede the prospect of having my breakfast provided to me as I pull up to a restaurant does sound appealing. — Joseph Michelli

8. Top Ten Strategies for Increasing Marketing ROI


So many leads, so little time. Your marketing strategy is generating so many qualified prospects and you can’t keep pace. It is an enviable position. — Elizabeth Harr​​​​​​​

9. Is the Trump Bump an Example of Irrational Exuberance?


The stock market continues to soar. The natural question is: How long can this go on? — Mark Germain​​​​​​​

10. Can Trump Follow Reagan's Playbook?


New presidents typically arrive in office with an economic agenda. In the case of Trump, the nature of his proposals has invited comparison with a variety of changes made under the first term of President Ronald Reagan in the 1980s. — Matthew F. Beaudry

11. Hope Is Fading for Robust Economic Growth


The hope for economic growth much beyond 2.0% looks to be deferred, as legislation appears to be bogging down and the Fed is reducing monetary support, clearly taking the path to interest rate normalization. — SNW Asset Management​​​​​​​

Douglas Heikkinen
Perspective
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IRIS Founder and Producer of Perspective—a personal look at the industry, and notables who share what they’ve learned, regretted, won, lost and what continues to ... Click for full bio