How a network of COI’s can grow your business and add value to your ideal clients

How do I acquire more ideal clients starting today? What is the best process to find them? What is a simple way to implement immediately to grow my business? The number one challenge for financial advisors is finding more ideal clients. Monday morning when you go to your calendar and you don’t see a lot of potential new ideal clients coming in, what do you do? I would start by setting up appointments with some of your ideal clients, either for a progress update meeting or for a coffee. The goal here is to help people in other areas of their lives and become the quarterback and meet new centers of influence.

Build your network of professionals
Build the "Hicks Network of Professionals" which is your network of people you work with. How many centers of influence do you work with for favorable introductions or give you referrals? Do they know how to do favorable introductions and have a process? This may be an opportunity! Would you like more? In your progress update meetings, ask your clients about their team, which I call the magic six. Find your best centers of influence through your best clients.
The Magic Six
The six are:
1. Accountant
2. Lawyer
3. Realtor
4. Mortgage broker
5. Insurance agency and
6. Banker or other. Other could include bookkeepers, commercial realtor, mortgage or insurance agencies, business brokers and certified business valuators.

Your CRM is the critical part of the process
The magic six strategy works this way. Every client you have in your contact manager (CRM system) should have the names of six people who they work with related to their financial future. These are key business relationships that every person has.
You can tackle the magic six in two different ways. First ask your assistant or receptionist to fill in the magic six when they come into your office, or alternatively, ask your clients about these people when you do your next financial review. Either way, you are discussing referrals. If the client does not have six business contacts (which they should, hey everyone needs a good tax advisor), then you have the ability to give out referrals in those missing areas. If you get the names of six new people, then you can ask the client if they would refer them and if they think they are excellent professionals.
Two things will happen, first, if they say they are excellent professionals, then you can call those professionals, introduce yourself and say, I am always looking for excellent professionals to refer my clients to. You got their name from a mutual client. Any professional will want to meet with you if it is a mutual client, otherwise, jeopardize the relationship. Or second, the client says they are not happy with that service from that professional and it gives you an opportunity to provide a referral to help serve that client better. Either way, you are discussing referrals and that is a good time to use your favorable introduction talk or referral talk (which you should have and know stone cold).
Having a team of professionals behind you makes you look increasingly valuable to a client with a large investment, estate, or tax problems. Build a network of professionals to help your client’s overall financial plan. Have a list handy to give to clients, and market your services and education to these professionals.


Giving and get referrals is a habit
If you are giving out or getting 6 names at every client meeting, there are a lot of people to connect with to give and get favorable introductions from. Turn 20 top clients into 120 people to give or get centers of influence contacts. Have a process and use privacy rules to collect and share the information.
Benefits of creating your quarterback service
• To help your clients’ overall quality financial planning and advice needs and gain referrals by referring your clients to your external team of professionals
• To gain years of valuable advice and knowledge by building a team of professionals
• To make yourself more referable
If you meet with 5 ideal clients next week and ask them about the magic six, that is 30 potential centers of influence to meet, have a coffee with and possible favorable introductions or referrals. Always find your best centers of influence through your clients and keep a record of them on your CRM. Why not have a team of 10, 20, 30 centers of influence to give and get referrals from. Make it a rule of thumb that you try to give out one referral per day. You are filling in six people on your quarterbacking team for every client. There should be at least one potential referral and one potential center of influence to meet! That can add up to a lot of referrals in one year! Only giving them to five people might not be enough unless you have a partnership arrangement that is fully disclosed to the client.

Critical steps to meeting with COI’s
The keys to a successful meeting with a new COI are:
1. Focus on their revenue FIRST!!! Find out what is their ideal client revenue?
2. Client story – case study – ideal clients – exchange ideal client profiles to see if there is a match
3. Teach how to refer – believe it or not, some COI’s think a referral is handing out a business card. Teach them how to refer you by getting permission and calling you with the client's contact information.
4. Communicate Treat your COI’s as if they were an ideal client and communicate with them.

Show your centers of influence your value promise document
The most interesting thing happened to me when I shared my value promise document and case studies of some of my top clients to a group of centers of influence. I wanted to showcase our value. I invited a dozen centers of influence to a luncheon. At the end of the luncheon, three of the twelve centers of influence came up to me and wanted to become my client. That was not the goal, it was actually better than the goal which was to build a referral team.
Next week, ask for the magic six from your ideal clients. It is a process and the top advisors always have a process. The easiest way to make it a process is to put "quarterbacking" discussion on your agenda with clients and have a worksheet attached called, "The Quarterbacking worksheet" with the six fields listed. Now you have a simple yet, executable process.

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