Creating a network of Centers of Influence (COIs) can make the difference between having a mediocre practice and a highly successful one. Interestingly enough, every client you meet with has the potential to introduce you to a multitude of COIs in his or her world.

Initially, it’s important to identify who the client’s COIs might be. Look at all aspects of your client’s life; look at the professionals who are members of your client’s economic team. The list could include their accountant, banker, trust attorney, and life insurance agent.

To begin the conversation, let your clients know that to gain a complete understanding of their financial picture, you would like to meet with the other key professionals they engage. By doing this, you can ensure all the t’s are crossed and the i’s dotted when helping them reach their future goals. It’s best if this conversation takes place approximately 90 days to six months after opening the client account.

Of course, a lot of your clients have been with you for years, so how do you broach the subject with them? Your conversation might go like this:

“When working with other clients, I’ve found it immensely helpful to network with other key professionals who are helping them reach their life goals. These professionals often include accountants, bankers, trust attorneys and/or life insurance agents, to name a few.

“I would like to provide this same level of service to you, so I can provide you with the best financial advice possible. Would you be willing to share their names with me, so I can set up a time to meet with them?”

Set a goal to have this simple conversation at your next client meetings. You’ll find clients are pleased you have offered this additional level of service.

Remember, as with all aspects of your business, to build an effective COI network it’s all about relationships. Treat the COIs as you would your best clients. Be interested in them, their business and their personal lives. Don’t make the conversation “all about you,” or you’re doomed to fail.

Make it your goal to start finding out who your client’s COIs are, and with your client’s blessing, set up a meeting with them.


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