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Convert a Center of Influence Into Your Strategic Partner

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Studies have shown that nearly 70% of the time affluent individuals consult with their accountants and attorneys when looking for their primary financial advisor. The leverage Centers of Influence (COI) relationships can provide is powerful and can expose you to more prospects and growth opportunities.

Moving your relationship with a COI from one where your name might occasionally be given out, to one where that person thinks of you regularly and refers primarily to you isn’t quick or easy. The good news is it doesn’t have to be trial and error. The Invesco/Prince & Assoc. survey studied 1,200 elite advisors who were successfully doing this to determine the right recipe for success.

Common elements of their success are below.

  • Treat strategic partners like your best clients. Top advisors create files on COI’s containing their business model, goals, failures and successes. They know birthdays, anniversaries, important personal occasions, family members, hobbies and interests.
  • Stop thinking referrals. The word, “referral” can create a dangerous mindset which destroys strategic partnerships. When a COI gives out your name; they are not giving you the client. In their mind they are saying, “My client has a problem that I need your help with.” They see themselves as the quarterback and you are a member of the team.
  • Focus on the few. The Invesco/Prince & Assoc. study indicated that elite advisors had 3.9 strategic partnerships on average and never more than 5. This is likely testimony to that fact that true strategic partnerships take a lot of time with the consistent collaborative activity in play.
  • Do your part to keep the playing field level. If you started receiving a steady stream of referrals from a source, what could you do to reciprocate? In most cases when one party benefits much more than another, resentment generally creeps in. You’ve probably felt this when it’s happened to you. To prevent this, you need to give back either directly or indirectly.
    • Direct incentive opportunities include things like revenue sharing, generating professional fees and referrals.
    • Indirect incentives can add value by helping them with marketing, practice management and/or education.

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