While most financial advisors understand the value of networking with influential people in their community and those associated with their target markets, often they fail to make the right impression when meeting face to face with a Center of Influence (COI).

One of the biggest problems we’ve seen is when advisors make the conversation all about themselves.  When this happens, the COI feels his/her time has been wasted and is quickly bored with the conversation.

Instead, after initially talking about the client you have in common, (after all, that is why the client gave you the referral) there are three discovery stages that need to take place at this meeting. They include:

Stage 1:   Learning how the COI conducts his/her business:

  • What is his/her business philosophy?
  • What are his/her priorities when it comes to servicing clients?
  • What are his/her business goals and business development plans?

Stage 2:  Educating them about you and your business.

  • Your business philosophy as it applies to servicing clients.
  • Your business goals and business development plan.
  • What makes you unique when compared with other professionals in your field.

Stage 3: Exploring ways you might work together and the value in doing this.

  • How can you help the COIs’ clients? How can he/she help yours?
  • What’s in it for the COI?
  • How can you help the COI grow his/her business?

Once you complete the three stages of discovery, you should have a good idea whether it is worth your time and effort to build a stronger relationship with the COI. If, after the meeting, you have uncomfortable feelings about what was said, that’s a sign that the relationship is not right for you, and it’s time to move on.


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