Identifying if a COI relationship is reciprocal 

We talk a lot about the value we provide to centers of influence (COIs). If it’s a reciprocal relationship, they have to provide value to us as well. So, are they providing value by being able to answer our questions? Are they helping us build our business? Are they helping introduce us to other people? There was one attorney — she wasn’t fresh out of law school, but she was newer. We had an introduction to her. We’d met with her for three years and not a single referral. In our last meeting with her, we went in specifically to ask what we could do better to earn her trust. In other words, we were trying to identify what we’d done wrong or not done well to be able to earn her trust and confidence to refer people to us.  

She talked an awful lot about how she had moved up in the law firm, how she was working with very wealthy clients and how excited she was. So, we had mentioned to her that we had  a CPA who was a client of ours who was retiring and was looking to sell her book of business. And she said she had two female CPAs that she would connect us with. We waited a week, we followed up, we waited another week, but nothing. I will tell you that we had always gotten all sorts of feedback from her about how wonderful we are and how we’re always top of mind, but it didn’t seem to be coming to fruition. We elected to remove her from our top referrals. There was just no reason to continue the relationship. She wouldn’t get back with us on an important question.  

And ultimately that client of ours, the retiring CPA, we introduced her to another CPA firm that we work with, and they may be buying her practice. And mind you, we refer to a number of different places, just like we expect our COIs to refer to a number of different places, and it looks like they’re going to connect well. There’s added value that we bring outside of just referring a client. It could be referring another professional.  

Renee Hanson, CFP, CDFA, is a 10-year MDRT member from Phoenix, Arizona, USA. Hear more in the October episode of the MDRT Podcast: 

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