Skip navigation
advisor-talking-on-phone.jpg David De Lossy/Digital Vision/Thinkstock

A Can’t-Miss COI Campaign

This is an ideal time to be in close contact with your professional partners.

Centers-of-influence (COIs) like attorneys and accountants can be wonderful referral sources in general, but even more so in times like these. Why? Clients are looking for advice and counsel. Some call you, but others call their accountants. This is an ideal time to be in close contact with these professional partners.

Now, what’s “can’t-miss” about this COI campaign? It can’t miss because it’s client-focused, COI-friendly and builds your knowledge base. It’s based on the notion that, in times like these, it’s essential to be as current as possible in all areas of your clients’ financial lives, not just their investments.

Here’s the campaign in brief. You set up calls individually with your COIs to get current on each other’s recommendations. You then work to set up group calls for the same purpose, putting non-competing COIs on calls together. Finally, you arrange a client-facing call, encouraging panelists to invite their clients. It’s a natural progression that helps everyone involved. Let’s dive into these three components a little deeper:

One-on-one Educational Calls

The purpose of these calls is to stay current with what’s happening in each other’s fields. While you likely have a general understanding of their space and vice versa, this call offers a real-time knowledge booster. This call could be as short as 30 minutes; them giving you 15 minutes of what they’re telling clients right now and then you returning the favor. These calls should be pre-planned, not impromptu so that everyone has time to prepare. You could consider an email that says…

“Can I get a few minutes on your calendar? I’d love to hear some of what you’re telling clients right now. I’m happy to share some investment-related insights as well.”

Roundtable Discussions

As you engage various attorneys, accountants, mortgage brokers and other professionals, be thinking about who might enjoy a roundtable discussion as a follow-up to the one-on-one educational calls you’re making. These discussions could include three to four professionals who have an interest in hearing about the trends, issues and opportunities in related, but non-competitive fields. In organizing this roundtable, you might say…

“I really enjoyed our conversation. I’ve spoken with a few others in related fields and I wonder if doing a group call would make sense to keep us all up to speed. I’ve put feelers out to (high-profile COI) and a couple of others to see if they have an interest as well.”

Client-Facing Webinars

The next and most marketing-forward part of this campaign is the idea of doing a client-facing webinar with one or more of these COIs. You could plan a presentation in which you both share key insights and field questions at the end. If you’re going for scale, you both invite your email lists. If you’re going smaller-scale, perhaps you choose a subset of clients who have traits in common. When you’re framing this concept, you could say…

“I was thinking about our recent call and how valuable it would be for some of my clients to hear. Would you be open to doing a webinar with me? I would invite my clients and you’re welcome to do the same.”

This can’t-miss strategy is yours for the taking. It takes a little work but puts you in a prime position when they have a client in need of investment advice. If you’re thinking, why don’t I just call and pitch these COIs directly? I want them to refer, why take the long path?,’ it’s been our experience that the harder we “push” for referrals, the fewer referrals we get. These are professionals who’ve been overly targeted by financial advisors over the years. Show them you’re a knowledge-worker, that you care about your clients, and the referrals will come in spades.

Stephen Boswell is a partner with The Oechsli Institute, a firm that specializes in research and training for the financial services industry. @StephenBoswell

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.