3 steps to becoming a trusted and sought-after Center of Influence

If you are a financial advisor or wealth manager, you’ve no doubt heard about the wisdom in building an extensive and powerful network of Center of Influence (COI) relationships to generate sources of quality client referrals.

The COIs you choose to partner with can either augment and support building your brand as a credible, high-integrity wealth manager and fiduciary—or impede and hinder it. Being selective with whom you partner and expose your clients to is as important a step to becoming a trusted and sought-after advisor as becoming a trusted and sought-after COI is. Leveraged correctly, your brand, acumen and ethics can be the catalyst to attracting very productive and effective professional partnerships. Below, we’ve identified three crucial steps we believe can help put you on a path to accomplishing this.

Step 1: Define the standard and expertise needed for your partnerships.

There’s much more to becoming sought after, and building your team of professional experts, than just an introductory meeting over coffee! Conducting multiple joint client discovery and prospecting meetings will likely be necessary in order to observe the acumen, credibility and fit of the professionals you decide to align with. Importantly, such meetings will also allow them to observe you.

To truly elevate your end-client experience, we believe it’s helpful to leverage the expertise of CPAs, tax attorneys and other lawyers, business valuators, venture capitalists, and M & A consultants, in addition to private, business and commercial bankers—as well as insurance, will, trust and estate consultants.

Why? Your affiliations will help define you and your brand and may impact end outcomes for your clients. We believe you will need partners with varying areas of specialization—for example, multi-jurisdictional tax expertise—to deliver on a truly elevated, unique and premium holistic wealth management experience. In our opinion, it’s crucial to ensure that the partners you identify are:

It’s important to remember that this works as a two-way street. Your partners will also be looking for the same qualities among you and your team members.

Step 2: Think outside the box to find your team of experts.

When looking to become part of a high performing and integrated wealth management and advisory team, it’s imperative to go the extra mile in your search. Don’t settle for the sake of convenience or immediacy. For example, although it might be tempting, it’s not a good idea to let geography restrict your search for compatible professional candidates to partner with. You must find the right fit—and that process takes due diligence, time and patience. Why? In the words of Blake Shelton, “one thing you can’t fake is chemistry.”

To find and attract compatible premium partners, there are many paths to consider:

  • Participate in associations, clubs and organizations that attract the types of professionals and people you want to meet. They should be aligned philosophically with you—integrity is everything.
  • Most people prefer to provide referrals and partner with people introduced by people they trust and respect. With this in mind, be wary of the company you keep.
  • While people typically do business with people they like, make sure to do your due diligence. All that glitters is not gold.

Step 3: Be the change

Your consistency in acting as a credible, reliable and trusted partner will help cement your brand. This, in turn, will help attract like-minded professionals with the essential qualities you are looking for.

As an advisor, financial planner and fiduciary, it’s important to be mindful of the following sought-after qualities that can truly differentiate you and your partnerships in the eyes of your clients. While many individuals will claim to possess all of these values, most will actually fail to deliver on them when the going gets tough. Don’t be one of the masses—walk the talk!

  1. Ability to communicate
  2. Honesty
  3. Technical competency
  4. Work ethic
  5. Flexibility
  6. Determination and persistence
  7. Loyalty

The bottom line

Becoming a trusted and sought-after partner for other professionals, while offering up your expertise as a financial consultant—no strings attached—allows potential COIs to see and learn about your capabilities, value proposition and character in a completely natural and organic way. There is no better way to find your professional tribe and ultimately work together to optimize your collective opportunities for potential growth.