Marketing to Centers of Influence for Financial Advisors

Written by: Samantha Russell

The Center of Influence definition is marketing to key people you can rely upon to help grow your business. As a financial advisor, your Centers of Influence (COIs) may include CPAs, attorneys, trust underwriters, mortgage professionals, and more. Centers of influence for financial advisors are professionals who refer their clients to you and whom you are happy to refer your clients to, as well.

So what should you look for with your center of influence prospecting? Whether your advisory is considering bankers, insurance agents, or corporate executives as potential Centers of Influence, they must meet specific criteria.

What Exactly is a COI (Center of Influence)

To be exact, a COI or center of influence is someone who is well-known, respected, and trusted in their community. Whether it be a business community or a local one. As a result of that, they have a significant influence over the thoughts and actions of others.

What Successful Centers of Influence Look Like

Knowing what a thriving center of influence looks like is the first step in this battle. Once you know what you’re looking to achieve, it’s easier to get in that mindset and work towards it.

ways to know if a COI is successful or not

Successful centers of influence for financial advisors include:

  • Knowing and interacting frequently with numerous potential clients for your advisory
  • Being willing to talk with potential clients about how your advisory can serve them
  • Being respected not only in their industry but also for their sound advice  
  • Benefiting from a mutual relationship with your advisory

Like any successful marketing effort, center-of-influence marketing requires a strategy. If the only time you focus on influencer marketing is when an interaction with a potential influencer reminds you, your ROI will be nonexistent. To harness the power of centers of influence marketing, your strategy must be intentional and a regular part of your marketing efforts. 

Habits to Build Successful Centers of Influence

Building rapport and relationships is an important part of any business, especially when it comes to financial advisory. In this case, there are certain habits that financial advisors should use to ensure that they’re able to become well-known, respected, and trusted members of a community.

building a center of influence list

Be Generous and Open

The way you approach conversations is one of the most important things when building a booming center of influence. It’s important to realize that a “give first” mindset with sincere curiosity is better than any false kindness. Showing genuine interest in another person’s life or business is the most effective and best approach you can take.

Show Respect from the Start

Everyone wants to be respected, whether they’re teachers, community leaders, or financial advisors. In fact, respect is another mindset you should take into any conversation. With new relationships, building trust is key, and showing respect is a good start. In addition to respect, give first and give often to help people feel significant like they matter because they do.

Ask Open-Ended Questions

Next, you need to know how to get to know a person. You can’t use “yes” and “no” questions because they’re shallow and don’t give you any insight into a person. That’s why you need to ask open-ended questions where people can describe why they feel the way they do. For example. instead of asking someone “Do like to eat?” Try asking them, “What do you like to eat? What’s your favorite restaurant?” It might not seem like a big deal, but these open-ended questions show your genuine curiosity about a person.

Share About Yourself

This is where it can get a little tricky. To truly have a genuine connection and form a center of influence, people have to know about you. If you only ask about them, they’ll never know who you are as a person or financial advisor. The trick is to balance out your ratio of questions to answers. For example, give too many answers and not enough questions, and it seems like you don’t care about other people. Too many questions and not enough answers make it hard for people to learn about you and build trust.

Figure Out Their Motive

Lastly, the main goal of forming a center of influence is to find out what motivates and drives people. Whether it’s to become a successful entrepreneur or better their community, everyone has their own motivation for what they do. Your job is to piece that together from what you’ve learned about them, it’s extremely rare that you ask someone directly what motivates them.

As you get to genuinely know someone, you begin to understand them. Who they are, where they’re from, what motivates them, what challenges they are currently facing, and how to solve them. This is why you seek to put yourself in the heart of your network as an influencer—allowing you to create massive waves of return.

Our Center of Influence Takeaway

When marketing to, and meeting with, your Centers of Influence, try to focus on them and how their business is growing. By creating a harmonious, mutually beneficial relationship, the relationships between you and other professionals will continue to grow. Take the time to schedule a casual lunch or host a meet and greet with your Centers of Influence and clients so they can see who they could potentially work with. These little touches will set your Center of Influence marketing in motion. Then it’s a matter of finding more Centers of Influence and cultivating your relationships to help create a steady stream of new clients.

Related: 10 Top Free Traffic Sources for Financial Advisor Websites