“My mindset is that I want to build relationships but it is primarily about making the COI look good to their clients and also giving them an easy out if a client asks a question they don’t want to deal with. We can become their “I don’t know or want to deal with that so call Sten and his team”. You need to have a system to drip quality content on your COI database to stay front of mind. And try to meet with them in person once per quarter for lunch or a strategy meeting to share ideas with them that would help their clients.”
Who Should You Add?
- Property and Casualty Insurance Agency
- Small Local/Neighborhood (Allstate, State Farm, etc…)
- Local Independent P&C Broker (For side-by-side dec page comparisons)
- Business/Specialty Lines Specialist
- Life/Disability/Long-Term Care Insurance Agency
- Local “Big 3” Agent (MassMutual/New York Life/Northwestern Mutual)
- Local Broker
- Business Attorney
- Estate Planning Attorney
- Divorce Attorney
- Title Company
- Mortgage Lender
- CPA (Accountants)
- Small – Cheap simple returns
- Mid-sized Regional – tax credits, opportunity zones (specialists)
- Larger Regional
- Outsourced CFO
- Business/Executive Coach
- Private Equity
- M&A Professional
- Business Broker
- Land Broker
- Certified Valuation Analyst
COI Best Practices
Client Suggested COIs
I’ve started with the professionals that my favorite clients already use. I talked to the client first; a frank conversation that we were working on building our network of trusted professionals. I asked them if they had anyone who deserved to be on our list.
How to connect with COIs
Then, when setting the appointment with the new COI, I referenced the shared client. I talked about how happy they were with the service the COI was providing, and that I felt like a lot of my clients could benefit from that service. Then I’ve been asking for a coffee appointment. Live or virtual. If it’s virtual, I’ve sent a Starbucks traveler to their office. If they’re solo, my admin calls and asks how they like their coffee. Then we have it delivered. If I’m showing up at their office, same thing. Marni gets their order (we keep it in our CRM), and I show up with it.
Questions To Ask Your COIs:
- What does an ideal client look like for your firm?
- What does an ideal client look like for you?
- What’s the most interesting thing that’s going on in your industry right now?
- What’s the easiest way for us to refer clients to you, and what type of information do they(we) need to have ready?
- Beyond just referring potential clients your way, what type of information and ideas do you find helpful?
- Would you be interested in collaborating on a case study with us at some point?
- Those are the business questions I want answers to before I leave. The rest is small talk!
For best-fit business clients, we send a physical folder with the following:
- Formal letter introducing us and explaining packet
- Hand-Written Card
- Staff bios one-pager
- Sample of our monthly email
- One-Page Case Study
- One-Page Overview of our business evaluation tool
- Business Card
I’ve also started handing these out at COI meetings, and we’ve been getting rave reviews. It helps them understand how to talk about us.