In financial and professional services, your client and professional advocates (centers of influence) are incredibly important to the success of your business. The best have experienced the value you can offer or have intimate knowledge of the impact you’re having on others. While everyone would agree COIs can be as important as a client itself, most go about attracting additional sources all wrong.
Much of what we see among financial professionals is that they do their prospecting on a limited time budget. That’s reality. But what this is driving is a transactional approach to attracting coveted referral and introduction sources. In short, we see too much of a “take” mindset vs. a “give” mindset.
Renowned sales coach and author John Orvos, speaks to this concept. John is fond of saying “a giving hand is always full”. As a peer I’ve found this advice to be invaluable. As a friend, I’ve found it to be the best “retention tool” going. So when thinking about gaining more COIs in business, it’s about balancing two buckets – a give bucket and a take bucket. Managing your give bucket is about what you can offer COIs in terms of insights and eventually valuable introductions. Your take bucket holds what you can realistically ask of COIs, namely referrals and support for your business once earned.
It’s also important to note that there are two dimensions of time between you and your COI – time together and time apart. Face it, you are apart more than together so it’s important to drip on your COIs to let them know what you’re up to and to provide valuable insights for their business.
Let’s take a look at a few COI types:
Real Estate Professionals:
So here are 6 proven tips to attract and retain the best centers of influence for your practice.
Rumor has it that leadership development is cool again. As an executive coach, I’m happy about that. Spending on Leadership education and development is up over 60% since 2013 and seems to be increasing. But not in the areas that you might think. In the area of sales leadership, frankly we could use a little rain.
As a former sales leader, I really felt that my role served as the pivot point in the organization. Who better to translate strategy into execution for the field and to process and package customer feedback for marketing and senior decision makers.
But today if you ask a rep when was that last time they worked with their manager in their territory, you’d be hard pressed to hear anything recent. In working with salespeople daily, we’ve observed that the sales manager is rarely working with the rep in the field. Rather they’re in countless meetings, rolling up data in Salesforce.com for other senior leaders, or negotiating for resources and competitive pricing. They may attend a key customer meeting or organize an offsite in a neutral location, but outside of email and text, the new way of connecting is disconnected. My fear - the traditional “work-with” may be a thing of the past.
Now I’m sure there are readers out there that would bristle at the suggestion that they don't “do” sales management. If you are doing it and doing it well - I’m really happy for you and your team. If you're not, I have a few ideas. Lets go to the Doppler:
Bill Walton Sales Training has over 60 years of collective Fortune 500 company experience in Sales, Sales Training and Field Sales Management. Our specialty is preparing individuals and organizations to present their value propositions in a way that results in higher close ratios. Our team are un-blurring the lines of differentiation between their client's fiercest competitors.