For many wealth managers, growing their practice through passive referrals is sufficient to achieve the growth they require.
However, if you want to build your business at a faster rate, you should consider developing “Centres of Influence”.
High-net worth individuals rely on a number of professionals, typically lawyers and accountants, who have the specialised know-how to ensure their wealth is efficiently managed and maintained.
These professionals who sit within the affluent person’s inner circle can be referred to as Centres of Influence (COI), and they will understand the details and nuances of both the client’s business and personal life.
However, the scope of their advice has limitations, and there will be situations where your specialist knowledge will be required.
For the attentive wealth manager, Centres of Influence should be seen as a prime opportunity for building strategic partnerships which, if managed correctly, can form powerful alliances that can be mutually profitable for both parties.
But the nature of these delicate business relationships is too often misunderstood. Wealth managers tend to presume that this is a simple referral process, not dissimilar to the recommendation you might receive from a satisfied client to whom you have provided a good service.
However, a Centre of Influence is not just anybody to the client but an existing trusted adviser, and so a favourable mention from them carries significant weight and persuasive power – possibly even a transference of trust.
This social currency can be especially effective for wealth managers who run their own practices and often do not have the marketing budget of larger organisations. The outcome of many hours spent trying to connect with prospective clients with significant sums to be managed can be achieved through one well-placed contact. But recognising the business development potential these intermediary advisers represent is often not the issue.
The most pressing questions that wealth managers should be asking are: how do I build relationships with Centres of Influence? And how can I ensure that they produce tangible and profitable client referrals?
In answering the question of how to form a powerful strategic partnership it is necessary to first establish some ground rules.
Defining your ideal Centre of Influence
It is important before reaching out to someone with whom you would like to form a strategic partnership that you first define the profile of an ideal Centre of Influence.
Of course, you want them to provide you with profitable and attractive clients; however, you will need to consider whether their clients have the sorts of problems you will be able to solve.
Ultimately it is their clients’ business you are seeking, and so the focus should be on what value you can add to their clients’ investments. Identify a client need that the professional is unable solve and demonstrate how you are best placed to find a solution. This will help create relevancy and utility, and will mean that Centres of Influence are more likely to be receptive to your approach.