Tips for Meeting with COIs

By Katie Gilmore, Founder & CEO

Tips for RIAs on best practices for COI meetings, from Katie Gilmore at KSGilmore Consulting LLC.

Are you getting the most out of your COI meetings?

For many RIAs, COIs are a vital part of their business development process. More than a third of RIAs surveyed said COI referrals played a significant role in their firm’s recent growth.

But many RIAs aren’t making the most out of their time and aren’t able to break into more high-profile groups. What can you do to establish a referral relationship with these COIs and earn the opportunity to be introduced to potential clients?

1. Set your intention.

No, this isn’t about yoga. What I mean by setting your intention is to clearly state your goals for the meeting. High-profile professionals don’t have the capacity to accept every “coffee and chat” meeting that comes their way. Get in the door by stating exactly what you want to achieve by sitting down together. You may even need to offer up a connection or mutual opportunity that you see for them. A brief, bulleted agenda will go a long way toward making the meeting productive.

2.  Be on time.

Remember that you are working to earn the trust of this person. Small things like being on time and picking up the check can go a long way.

3. Follow your agenda.

For example, your agenda for a 45-minute coffee might look like this:

  • Tell me about your practice. What can I do to help you? (15 minutes)

  • Share a bit about my practice. (Tip: Walking through a pitch deck or using a leave-behind may help you stay on pace for the length of the meeting.) (15 minutes)

  • Discuss mutual opportunities. I have a couple of ideas but want to learn more to make sure they are right for you. (15 minutes)

4.  Give to get.

You’ll see in the example that you are going to ask how you can help this person. Ninety percent of the time, the person across from you will reciprocate. Be prepared to answer how they can help you. (Tip: Share your ideal client type!)

Make it easy for your COI to introduce you to others by sharing some pass-along material, such as a helpful e-book, blog or other collateral.

Come to the meeting with one or two ideas for how you might pursue a mutual opportunity. Maybe it’s a joint webinar or presentation, or an introduction to a client of yours who needs this person’s help. Be prepared to follow through, assuming you find the COI to be of the high caliber that you expected.

5.  Follow up.

After the meeting, follow through on the items that you promised to deliver. Many people do not do this, so this simple action will set you apart. It will also demonstrate your trustworthiness and position you for more connections from this COI down the road.

Referrals are an important source of new business for RIAs. Nearly 60% of wealthy investors found their financial advisor through a referral. And, the investors you gain as clients through referrals also can help your firm grow. Research shows that an investor who chooses an advisor based on a referral is less likely to switch and more likely to recommend the advisor to others. Follow the advice above to help maximize your time with COIs.

If you have questions about our RIA marketing services, or how to create a strong COI strategy for your RIA, contact us.

Katie Gilmore