Look Under That Rock to Find COIs and Referrals

In your search for viable leads or prospects, you’ve probably heard this wise advice: “Build relationships with centers of influence – or COIs to gain a big referral source.”

And yet in my 20+ years of working with financial advisors, I hear more disappointment in the results of these efforts than successes.

What’s Going On Here?

Why is that? I looked deeper and here’s what I found:
1. COI relationships can be a powerful referral source. Yay!
2. Most advisors aren’t very effective in identifying and building those relationships. Not so yay…

Interesting isn’t it? What can you do then?

Think Outside the Box

Here’s a quick tip to be more effective in your efforts:

Identify COIs who work with your ideal clients in another capacity that doesn’t compete with your own.

When that tip is given – I ask who comes to mind? Almost always CPAs and Estate attorneys are named.

Yet CPAs and Estate attorneys are contacted by so many financial advisors they could never refer enough business to make everyone happy… and often aren’t the best referral sources.

So, I suggest you think outside the proverbial “box.”

Realtors, School Counselors, or Even Funeral Directors Can Help

If you work with early or mid-career professional clients – think about realtors – who are helping them find homes – they build deep relationships and know about income levels, life stories, etc.

If you work with pre-retirees or retirees – funeral directors! Often funeral directors are trying to take care of the family left behind… They get to know the family and will learn about their financial situations. And these are often people who really care to help those families in any way possible. They will run into situations where they can make a referral.

Families with college bound children? How about high school counselors? I’ve known many of these guidance counselors who entered their careers to help families – yet the bureaucracy, discipline efforts, and lots of other mandated efforts get in their way. If you can align yourself with them to fulfill what they consider their mission that they don’t get to help enough with, that will be a welcome break. Maybe a joint event or school-sponsored event where you present information would be welcome – you’ll let them be that hero they want to be, and they’ll make those referrals to you.

When it comes to building COI relationships- think outside of CPAs and estate attorneys

Treat Your COIs as a Sales Opportunity

And then treat your connections with COIs as a sales opportunity where you first seek to understand THEM, their business, their needs, their desires, and what makes a meaningful referral relationship. Then position yourself as that person.

Your creativity and research will yield far better results than going after the same small group of CPAs and estate attorneys everyone else is chasing.

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