Look for COIs beyond the norm
According to COI expert and author of The Game: Win Your Life in 90 Days, Sarano Kelley, the trick is to step back and redefine who in your network qualifies as truly influential.
Kelley emphasizes that a COI is anyone with sway over an important network of individuals. Traditionally, these would be accountants, tax experts, estate planners, bankers, insurance brokers and the like. Breaking away from this rule, an Advisor should also look for people who are seldom top of mind. For example, this could be a membership manager at your ski or golf club, a real estate agent in your community, or even the manager of a private airport, or president of a car club. These are people who have secured the confidence and respect of their community, but more often than not get overlooked on the influence spectrum. For this very reason, they present a great opportunity for Advisors to leverage unique relationships in a highly competitive landscape.
Optimize referrals from within
Never too late to go digital
- Select participation. Begin with the list of COI allies, ranging between six to 10 in total. The mix of connections could include people you currently work with or know from the past, as well as some new non-traditional associations.
- Defined purpose. Once you have the list, state the objectives of your group. Well-worn clichés like “networking,” “mutual success” and “referrals” often fail to entice because people quickly realize they do not create value. The focus could instead be on mining each other’s collective wisdom about the current economic environment, as well as opportunities and challenges across individual businesses.
- Rules of engagement. Next, set the guidelines for the group. Where will you meet, and how often? Which video technology is most suited to engage all participants? Should video be mandatory? Being able to read each other’s body language is a crucial part of in-person meetings, but in a digital environment “virtual fatigue” can quickly take over. If you plan to meet once a month, consider getting together twice instead, for half the time.
- Governance parameters. It helps to outline the operating values the group wants to embrace. Some examples could be holding each other accountable, being willing to give and receive constructive feedback and, most importantly, checking your ego at the door.
- Fixed agenda. A clear list of meeting topics is paramount, especially to avoid the real possibility of idle chatter and catching up, where nothing is really accomplished. Each person could provide an update since the last meeting, followed by a challenge session centered on problem-solving, and a wrap-up with action items for the next gathering.
Trusting in the business of trust
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