As a financial advisor, it’s important to gather the names of the Centers of Influence (COIs) who are members of your client’s financial team. Coordinating your efforts on behalf of the client will help ensure his or her ultimate goals are met.
It also provides an opportunity to develop strong relationships with COIs who are well connected in your community. As they learn more about you and the services you provide, they will feel more comfortable referring clients to you.
With the right approach, clients will be happy to share the names of their COIs with you. (See: Acquiring the Names of Clients’ COIs) However, there are bound to be times when a client is not comfortable doing this. Here is a dialogue to help you deal with this situation:
Client: “I’m not comfortable with doing that.”
YOU: “It sounds like you have a concern.”
YOU: “Thanks for letting me know. It sounds like you are concerned with giving me the names of other professionals you work with.”
YOU: “Can you tell me more about that?”
This gentle probing will help you uncover more details about the client’s concerns. Based on the reasons your client gives you, you can reframe the objections and see if you can change his/her mind. You can also negotiate the issue, or in some situations, end the conversation.
Once the client agrees to share the names of his/her COIs with you, continue by saying:
“I want to go over a list of who those individuals are, and if appropriate, I’ll reach out to them to introduce myself and to make sure our efforts are coordinated.”
Of course, if the client still is not forthcoming with this information, you will need to gracefully exit the conversation. Here’s how:
“What’s important to me is that you’re comfortable with our approach, and that we offer you the same services we provide our other great relationships. Please let me know if at any time you decide you would like me to meet with your other advisors.”
Don’t expect a 100 percent closing ratio when it comes to asking clients for a COI introduction. While the closing ratio will likely be higher than with a cold call or a low-leverage situation, don’t become insensitive to the fact that ultimately it’s still a numbers game.
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