Guest Post: Are You Thinking of COIs All Wrong?

By Beyond AUM

This is a term that needs no definition or explanation. Whether we refer to them as the popular acronym “COIs,” as referral sources, or as professional partners, it’s safe to say that “centers of influence” are an invaluable element of any advisory practice.

Yes, they grow your business by putting you in front of the right types of clients.

Yes, they can help you break into new markets and broaden your reach to more people who need your expertise.

But above all else, they empower you to provide a better experience to your clients and allow you to solve more of the problems they face.

In fact, you can probably point to five, 10, or even 20 different COIs that have helped you foster productive, fruitful, and long-lasting client relationships over the years. It’s the divorce attorney with whom you’ve collaborated to assist women facing a complex and emotionally devastating transition. It’s the CPA with whom you collaborated on a succession plan for a business owner, who was preparing for the next chapter of her life.

Notice the common thread in these scenarios?

Attorney, CPA… in our industry, COIs tend to fall into the same category: professional services. And why not? They work with clients who are similar to yours and provide similar types of comprehensive, personal advice. Forming relationships with these like-minded professionals just makes sense, right?

Let’s look beyond the definition that you’ve come to know so well over your advisory career. Imagine if you challenged yourself to venture outside the professional services realm to reach a new type of COI. What do you think you would find? How would your clients benefit? Would you reach a new dimension of growth in your business that you hadn’t dreamed possible?

Every decision you make in your business should start and end with your clients; your recommendations should come from a place of authenticity. Instead of looking for COI relationships with the criteria you’ve come to learn from others in the industry, think of the areas of your life in which you already have natural, authentic connections.

What if your all-women’s hockey team could benefit from an open dialogue about money? What if the volunteer board that manages your children’s art club could use someone to balance their annual budget? What if the guys you golf with on a weekly basis need a sponsor for an upcoming golf outing? What if you taught students at your neighborhood middle school about the importance of saving and investing?

These scenarios illustrate authentic situations in which you can showcase your expertise and add value to your community. By positioning yourself as a resource to the people you interact with regularly, you can have a positive impact on a cause, an organization, or a group you care about, while opening the door to an even wider pool of influential referral sources.

In short, you become the resource that creates win-win situations, in a manner that feels good, and real, and genuine to you.

We all have the fear of putting ourselves out there — of being just another business card that falls to the back of the drawer, or the LinkedIn message that goes unanswered. The bottom line is, your personal life is where you build truly long-lasting relationships. So, if you’re willing to put yourself out there to CPAs and attorneys that you may not know well — if at all — then why not pursue COIs from relationships you cultivate naturally on an everyday basis?

At Beyond AUM, we help our clients pursue these creative, new business development avenues every day. We encourage you to give this approach a try — and in fact, we’ve developed a worksheet to help you get started. Click here to download. Need help identifying new marketing strategies? Contact us today.

Beyond AUM is a growth, experience, and technology agency that specializes in serving financial advisory firms.

Privacy Notice

We recognize the importance of protecting our clients’ privacy. We have policies to maintain the confidentiality and security of your nonpublic personal information. The following is designed to help you understand what information we collect from you and how we use that information to serve your account.

Categories of Information We May Collect

In the normal course of business, we may collect the following types of information:

  • Information you provide in the subscription documents and other forms (including name, address, social security number, date of birth, income and other financial-related information); and
  • Data about your transactions with us (such as the types of investments you have made and your account status).

How We Use Your Information That We Collect

Any and all nonpublic personal information that we receive with respect to our clients who are natural persons is not shared with nonaffiliated third parties which are not service providers to us without prior notice to, and consent of, such clients, unless otherwise required by law. In the normal course of business, we may disclose the kinds of nonpublic personal information listed above to nonaffiliated third-party service providers involved in servicing and administering products and services on our behalf. Our service providers include, but are not limited to, our administrator, our auditors and our legal advisor. Additionally, we may disclose such nonpublic personal information as required by law (such as to respond to a subpoena) or to satisfy a request from a regulator and/or to prevent fraud. Without limiting the foregoing, we may disclose nonpublic personal information about you to governmental entities and others in connection with meeting our obligations to prevent money laundering including, without limitation, the disclosure that may be required by the Uniting and Strengthening America Act by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism (USA PATRIOT) Act of 2001 and the regulations promulgated thereunder. In addition, if we choose to dispose of our clients’ nonpublic personal information that we are not legally bound to maintain, we will do so in a manner that reasonably protects such information from unauthorized access. The same privacy policy also applies to former clients who are natural persons.

Confidentiality and Security

We restrict access to nonpublic personal information about our clients to those employees and agents who need to know that information to provide products and services to our clients. We maintain physical, electronic and procedural safeguards to protect our clients’ nonpublic personal information. We respect and value that you have entrusted us with your private financial information, and we will work diligently to maintain that trust. We are committed to preserving that trust by respecting your privacy as provided herein.