Centers of influence (COIs) who are marketing to demographics similar to your organization’s target market can often represent a cost-efficient way to develop new sources of wealth management business. When designing a COI marketing effort, we offer the following recommendations:
Do Your Research: Typically, wealth managers turn first to attorneys and accountants. This approach can be more nuanced. Look first to those lawyers and accountants that serve your existing clients and to those with whom you have a relationship. A thoughtful review of their common characteristics may help in more effective segmentation of the universe of COIs outside of your current network.
Communicate Your Value: Once COI targets are determined, make sure that communications have been designed to clearly demonstrate the “fit” between your services and the needs of the COI’s clients. The COI must be convinced that your offering is appropriate for their clients, is of the highest quality and will complement/enhance their client relationships. After all, you are asking COIs to trust you with their most precious possession, their clients.
Think Outside the Box: A COI can be any individual or group that functions as a trusted advisor to your potential clients. So think about other influencers with whom your clients may engage. This could range from personal trainers and high-end insurance or real estate brokers to art or other collectibles’ advisors. The competition for these COIs is likely to be less intense, and these less traditional COIs provide opportunities for a wide variety of affinity marketing (“art as investment,” “living well,” etc.).
Establish Mutual Trust: Remember that a COI relationship is typically a two-way street that is based on mutual respect and trust. The best COI relationships are those where you feel as comfortable in referring clients to your COI as they feel referring clients to you.
A well-designed COI marketing effort supported by clear and compelling communications can be a highly productive long-term driver of new growth for wealth management business.