It almost goes without saying…Centers of Influence (COIs) who send you a steady flow of high quality referrals are invaluable.
Whether they’re other professionals, networkers, or just folks who want to help you succeed, they can introduce you to the “right type” of clients.
Yet most advisors report COI relationships that are inconsistent at best. Do any of these sound familiar?
- You seem to send them more business than they send you
- You only get sporadic referrals.
- Of the referrals they send, you would prefer to turn a good number away.
A financial advisor I coach reported receiving both a $6,000,000 and a $12,000,000 referral from the same person in the same meeting. It wasn’t a new COI. The advisor had known this contact for years and over time a few small referrals had trickled in.
But this time it was different. Why?
The advisor took the time to help the COI understand exactly how he treats the referrals he receives. Elementary, yes. But with uncertainty gone, the COI gained confidence to open up more.
My client also made sure the COI, an accountant, knew he had financial requirements for the clients he accepted. This advisor wasn’t in the market for just any old referral. He offered exclusivity that was partially measured by net worth.
In the end, the COI could easily picture the right clients to refer to this advisor. No guessing.
If your business could benefit from a steadier flow of referrals from COIs, get started by answering a few important questions…
1. Do your COIs know how you will treat their clients?
The biggest reason COIs don’t make referrals is lack of knowledge. They may know you, but they don’t truly know how you operate. Invite them to come into your office, introduce them to your team, let them sit on the other side of your desk and show them how you treat the referrals you receive. The little things, even the way they will be greeted, matter.
2. Do your COIs know the specific type of client you’re looking for?
Don’t leave your COIs guessing as to the type of client you would like to have as a referral. Be as specific as possible. Otherwise, you’re leaving it up to their imagination. They may think they’ve been sending you great referrals when in reality you’ve been getting skinny rabbits.
3. Do you meet with your COIs regularly?
You have a regular schedule for meeting with your clients. The same should be true for your COIs. When your COI meetings become a habit, you will have a more predictable flow of referrals.
And don’t forget, most COIs appreciate good referrals as much as you do.