I’ve noticed over the years that Financial Advisors rarely cultivate relationships with Centers of Influence (COI). Often it’s because they don’t think about business development or they may not be concerned about growing their business or prospecting for new clients.
Other times it could be that they just don’t consider how important it is to foster relationships with professionals who could help them and vice versa. Still yet, they could be focused on other issues and it hasn’t occurred to them that they could focus on this marketing strategy.
When advisors hire me, they become more focused on their business and on cultivating relationships with other professionals, all of which can be rewarding. But they generally need help in how to approach Centers of Influence.
This post offers a few good tips on a script to help you approach potential Centers of Influence to meet and discuss your businesses,
Who makes a good referral partner?
While you should be networking and meeting all types of new people to spread the word about your practice, there are certain professions that are better for you to focus on approaching.
Possible Centers Of Influence:
- CPA or accountant
- Estate Planning Attorney
- Mortgage broker
- P&C agent
- Long Term Care or disability (if you don’t provide this)
- Business consultants, especially those that focus on helping in the sale of a business
Get ready to be uncomfortable!
Reaching out to Centers of Influence does take a little bit of getting out of your comfort zone as well as some ingenuity. After all, how should you approach potential referral partners? Will they be receptive to meeting with you?
The truth is that some will not be interested simply because they are not entrepreneurial or they are “given” their leads by their company or another established advisor.
How to approach COI’s: Phone script to set up coffees with COI’s
(How you could start out)
“Hello, we met at X…we were introduced by X”
“We haven’t seen each other in a while…”
“I’m calling to touch base with you and see how you’re doing. How is life? How is business? (Say something here that is specific to what you know about them. A hobby they like, food they enjoy, friends/associates you have in common – build rapport).”
“Well, the reason for my call is that I’m putting together a group of expert professionals that I can refer my clients to and I thought of you. I wonder if you’d like to meet for coffee so that we can see if there are ways we can help each other.”
Things to think about:
Two-way street referrals/reciprocal referrals – ALWAYS start off with establishing boundaries that you are looking for reciprocal referrals.
You must show that you are an experienced advisor who provides a service experience that sets you above other advisors
Think about your practice and imagine what it would be like if you had more professionals to refer your clients to in case they need specific services. Think about and imagine what it would be like to receive regular referrals from other professional advisors. Let this motivate you to take action this year!