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ActiFi Best Practices

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Manage Referrals and
COI Relationships
Effectively
Agenda
• Define your process for handling referrals and developing
relationships with leads
• Identify Referral and COI Sources
• Create a shared client service model with your best COIs
• Be prepared when asking for referrals or engaging COIs
• Use Internet tools to conduct market research on clients,
prospects and COIs
• Prepare effectively for meetings with prospective clients
and COIs
• Create a Client/COI Advisory Board and prepare for your
first meeting
2
 77% of clients gave their advisor an
average satisfaction rating of 8/10 or
higher*
 93% of clients are somewhat or
extremely likely to continue working
with their advisor
29% of clients
provided a referral
 83% of clients are comfortable
providing a referral**
Source: Advisor Impact, Economics of Loyalty: 2010
3
Define Your Process For Handling Referrals And Leads

Identify the lead and collect background information

Contact each lead and attempt to schedule an initial meeting

Define action steps to be followed when the lead says “yes,” “no,”
or “maybe” – if “yes,” send an invitation to the lead confirming the
time and location

If “maybe” or “no,” send a “nice to meet you” email

Prepare for, conduct, and follow up on the initial meeting as you
would with any lead

Identify opportunities based on the lead’s needs and add him or
her to your sales pipeline report
4
Define Your Process for Handling Referrals and Leads
5
Define Your Process For Working With Referral Sources

Add the name of the referral source to your COI Tracking
report

Send a "nice to meet you” email with marketing brochure

Call to schedule an introduction/preliminary meeting

Prepare for the introductory meeting

Conduct the preliminary (introduction) meeting

Determine if a reciprocal relationship makes sense

Send follow-up communication capturing meeting
highlights and identifying next steps

Schedule regular meetings to stay in touch
6
Define Your Process For Working With Referral Sources
7
EXERCISE:
Identify Referral and COI
Sources
Identify Specific Referral Sources To Pursue
9
Identify Specific Referral Sources To Pursue
Are there disciplines where you need to find additional contacts?
•
Tax planning/tax completion
•
Estate planning/legal
•
Financial planning (if that is not a service you provide)
•
Risk management (life, property and casualty insurance)
•
Human Resource directors
•
Small business owners (they can be referrals for your clients and
potentially become clients themselves)
•
Real estate agents and mortgage brokers
•
Architects
•
Interior designers
10
Identify Specific Referral Sources To Pursue
If you do need additional names, determine where you can meet those contacts.
Think outside the box to consider people who work in venues that would be
considered non-traditional in terms of referral sources.
11
Create Strategic Partnerships
Create a shared client service model
that defines the client experience
as your two firms work together
on behalf of the client.
12
13
Typical Agenda For Working Sessions
• Define the ideal end state: what will a successful outcome look like
for all parties?
• What’s in it for the advisory firm? The strategic partner? The client?
• Define your client service model: The advisory firm and the strategic
partner will each define their own client service model and create a
Year in the Life (YITL) diagram
• Create a shared client service model and YITL diagram
• Share the messaging and stories you want the other party to use in
describing you
• Define the pipeline (identify targets, communicate the message,
make the introduction)
• Coordinate processes
14
Be Prepared When Asking For Referrals

Know why you are asking for the referral

Share the definition of your ideal client and how you help them

Define, document, and communicate your process for handling
referrals

Answer the question: What’s in it for them?
15
Best Practices When Asking For Referrals

Use a script or agenda the first few times

Gather background on the lead from the client

Ask for a warm introduction and arrange to contact the lead

Share your process for handling referrals

Use storytelling to guide the conversation where appropriate

Thank your client

Track activity in your pipeline
16
Use Internet Tools To Conduct Market Research
• Understand more about who your client or prospect is and what
matters to him or her.
• Build a profile of a prospect’s industry or company to show in-depth
understanding and knowledge of the prospect's particular needs and
challenges.
• Research a competitor's strengths and weaknesses (via website,
published articles, etc.) to better position yourself and your practice
when seeking to win new clients.
• Research industry trends for key clients and report back to them to
proactively show your interest in and your knowledge of their specific
operating environment.
• Access information on a key individual within a company you are
seeking to work with.
17
Resources For Conducting Market Research
• Warm Call Center
• AlertMix
• Google, including Google Alerts
• Pipl
• Glassdoor
• ZoomInfo
18
DIALOGUE:
How are you using the internet
to conduct client and prospect
intelligence?
Prepare Effectively For Meetings With Prospects

Do your research: recent news, background, industry/position,
volunteer activities

Create an agenda in advance

Be able to describe what type of client you are looking for, and
describe your services

Prepare good questions based on your research

Listen for the prospect’s goals, priorities, pain points, and needs

Define next steps together

Follow up as agreed
20
Create A Client Advisory Board
Goals:
• Solicit feedback to improve your practice
• Deepen relationships with board members
Tips:
• Regular or one-off (focus group)
• Consider facilitation
• Develop objectives and a charter
• Identify your “dream team”
• Schedule your first meeting
All Rights Reserved to ActiFi
21
Schedule Your First Client Advisory Board Meeting
• Plan the logistics
• Create an agenda and share it in advance
o Include questions to consider
• Prepare materials
• Follow up after the meeting with a thank-you note and
a call
All Rights Reserved to ActiFi
22
EXERCISE:
List the questions you would
ask your Client and/or COI
Advisory Board
THE BEST QUESTION YOU CAN ASK:
“How would you describe what
it is that we do?”
Questions?
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