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A Wealth Management Advisor's Guide to Centers of Influence

As a financial advisor, you understand the importance of referrals to building your business. But relying solely on client referrals limits that growth to the number of clients you currently have. Enter: centers of influence (COI).

What Is a COI?

COIs are well-connected professionals uniquely positioned to refer business to you regularly. A strong referral partnership with a COI allows both of you to expand your networks, grow business, deepen existing client relationships and operate in a symbiotic fashion that keeps gaining momentum.

In short, a COI is a more sustainable method of growing source referrals. 

Who Are COIs for Financial Advisors?

Think of your ideal client profile. Now consider those professionals in the community who are interacting with your ideal client on a regular basis.

COIs for financial advisors can include:

  • Accountants
  • Real estate agents
  • Philanthropists
  • Life coaches
  • Executive recruiters
  • Attorneys
  • Human resource directors
  • Personal trainers
  • Jewelers
  • Bankers

Another critical COI financial advisors should consider: insurance agents. Farm Bureau gives its Wealth Management Advisors the opportunity to connect with 1,700 COIs — insurance agents in 14 states who serve more than a half million clients.

How Can You Develop Relationships With COIs?

Make a list of the types of COIs with whom you’d like to build a relationship. Then find someone who can introduce you.

It might be someone you already know or it could be a friend of a friend. LinkedIn serves as a great resource for making these types of connections; run a search of your network to find 2nd or 3rd level relationships to COIs you’d like to meet.  

When you sit down for an initial meeting with a potential COI, be clear about what it is that makes you referable. It’s important for a COI to understand what you do, whom you serve and what your area of specialty is so that when they encounter your ideal client, they’ll recognize it as a fit.

The more detailed you can be about what makes you stand out from the crowd, the more likely a COI will be able to send you the right clients.  

How Can You Maintain Strong Relationships With COIs?

Remember that a relationship is a two-way street. You’re partnering with a COI for mutually beneficial rewards, not simply using them to garner referrals. This means that it’s essential for you to understand a COI’s business and the types of clients they work with, just as it’s important that they know this same information about you.

This way, both of you will always be looking for new-client opportunities to send each other’s way, and thus, adding value to one another’s business growth.

Connect with COIs

If you’re considering making a move to a company where you’ll have built-in access to COIs, consider joining our team. Contact a Regional Manager to learn more.