Developing Your Center’s of Influence

Centers of Influence (COI’s) are defined as leaders in your community that are willing to give you introductions in exchange for the introductions you give them. Your Centers of Influence will deliver many of your best prospects and clients to you because they like you, trust you, respect your professionalism.

How do you cultivate those relationships? First look to your current clients. Is  there anyone who gives you qualified referrals without asking?  Do you have a client in a professional position to have contact with a lot of your potential prospects, for example, an attorney or CPA? Second, ask yourself if there a professional who is enthusiastically endorsed by your clients over and over again?    The Supernova webinar, "Six Steps To Getting More Referrals From COI's" discusses the steps to identifying and establishing a relationship with a COI.

You may already have identified people in your community that you want to approach. Those potential COI’s include the CEO of the largest employer in the area, political leaders, insurance agents, business brokers, the president of the local university and the Chamber of Commerce. But before you approach anyone you will need to have your script ready to describe what you do.  If I were to ask you right now to write down a description of your practice what would you say? Too many of us give a very poor response, which goes something like, "oh, I work for _____________ firm. I am a financial advisor."

While that may be accurate, it certainly is boring. Very few people come over to us when they hear that kind of explanation and say, "Oh thank goodness, I was looking for a financial advisor!"

The problem with this answer, even though it is accurate, it's not very compelling. The McDonald's Corporation understands that. They do not simply serve a Big Mac, they serve “two all-beef patties, special sauce, cheese and lettuce, pickles and onions, on a sesame seed bun.”

Both answers are accurate but only one is compelling and I'm sure you can tell which one it is. The next time someone asks you what do you do don't tell them what you do, but rather tell them what you do for your clients. As a Supernova advisor you have a definable, repeatable service model you can share with them. Here are some descriptions to get you thinking about what you do:

  • “I help individual families and investors manage their risk as well as the return on their investment portfolio (or Investment account or in their retirement plans).”
  • "I help families and investors manage investment risk and find appropriate investment returns.”
  • "I help families take care of their family by understanding appropriate investment risk as well as how to plan for their future.
  • I have a concierge-style practice with a limited number of clients I meet with monthly and give them multi-generational planning and rapid response to their needs and concerns

Another method we recommend to identify potential COIs is using your current clients. Every client has a list of trusted advisors they rely on for a variety of things. Doctors, CPAs, Real Estate Agents, Estate Planning Attorneys are examples of a few. At your next In-Person meeting with a client make a list of those people most often recommended by them. We call that list the Enthusiastically Endorsed List of Providers. (See the template for this list under Acquisition Tools).  These are your potential COIs. You can then contact them and set up a meeting to discuss a mutually beneficial relationship.  Tell them you have several clients that have recommended them and you want to give their name to other clients that might need your services.


Exercise: Start identifying people who fit the description of COI's.

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