There are two critical components for effective COI relationships – personal connection AND structure. We often talk about getting personal with your CPA and attorney partners. In our opinion, it’s the most overlooked component of the relationship. But for today, let’s shift focus to the structural piece of this puzzle.
Chances are, your CPA and attorney partners don’t get as much training as you do on the topic of working with other professionals. In many ways, it’s up to you to offer best practices on how these relationships works best.
One of those best practices is to host review meetings with them, just like you would with your affluent clients. The purpose is very similar to client review meetings. You want to build rapport, get personal, and cover the business essentials.
Here are three steps for ensuring more COI referrals:
1. Explain the concept of review meetings with them early and often. You might say, “We find that these types of partnerships work best when we get together regularly - sometimes informally to talk about a specific client - and other times with a bit of an agenda to make sure we’re leveraging each other properly.”
2. Set up the one-to-one lunch or dinner. Call the COI personally and suggest a meeting to catch up. Suggest one of their favorite restaurants if possible and send an agenda to make sure everyone’s on the same page. The tone should be that this meeting will be lighthearted and enjoyable.
3. In your meeting, focus on two key objectives:
a. As always, this is an opportunity for relationship building – ask about family, hobbies, and interests. Show a sincere interest in learning more about them. Be sure to add this information to your CRM so you remember to bring it up next time.
b. Discuss the areas most important to this relationship:
i. Trends you’re seeing in your industry (and vice-a-versa)
ii. Updates on clients you’ve sent them
iii. Updates on clients they’ve sent you
iv. Lead Signals – your ideal client profiles, signals that one of your clients might need them, signals that one of their clients might need you, etc.
This process will increase the referral flow – if you commit to it. It’s not something you do with 30 different partners - only your top two or three. Give it a try! You’ll be glad you did.
Stephen Boswell and Kevin Nichols are coaches with The Oechsli Institute, a firm that specializes in research and training for the financial services industry. @StephenBoswell @KevinANichols www.oechsli.com