What to do today to dramatically expand centers of influence

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During a conference presentation at the Workplace Benefits Association conference in Las Vegas this summer, I mentioned a simple but extremely effective strategy to proactively pursue centers of influence.

I’m not talking about approaching other professionals and saying, “Let’s share clients and prospects,” in a passive, pleading manner. I am talking about proactively developing a strategy to cultivate centers of influence with a stated purpose that will be mutually beneficial for both firms.

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This strategy works and has filled the sales pipelines of multiple firms over the years.

Here’s the simple idea to start — and best of all, it is easy to implement. Have someone on your team ask each current client relationship as part of a survey for the name of your clients’ accountant, attorney and banking relationship.

Why? Because those are your clients’ “trusted advisers,” and that is how you want to be perceived. And you should know who their other advisers are anyway to coordinate discussions and to provide consistent, coordinated counsel.

The position you want to be in
You want to align yourself with your client’s other trusted advisers to leverage their relationships and elevate the perception of you and your practice.

You don’t see those trusted advisers having their services evaluated by employers on a spreadsheet, do you? You don’t see them being replaced every few years based on price, right?

That’s exactly the position you want to establish and you also want to be part of that “inner circle” peer group.
Have the data from the survey arrayed on a spreadsheet to make it easy to analyze. You may find that you have 4-5 clients in common with one or more of the other advisers.

That’s extremely valuable information.

Won’t that be an easy call to set up lunch to explain what you have learned and to talk about strategies to enable both firms to make that 15-20 shared clients?

Offer to establish an educational seminar series that you will jointly present. Suggest that once a quarter you invite your respective and prospective clients to a joint educational seminar.

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You could alternate hosting or the venue could be a conference space at a local hotel. It could be a breakfast session or perhaps a late afternoon seminar including refreshments and appetizers.

Topics like ACA compliance requirements; the intelligent integration of voluntary benefits to fill the gaps in an employer’s current benefits program; and creating a benefits strategic plan as a means for managing benefits decisions and benefits expenditures are terrific topics because you are educating your audience and differentiating yourself from 99% of all the other benefits brokers in your area.

Think creatively about other informative, timely topics. Then, reach out to your clients’ other trusted advisers to expand your centers of influence and multiply your list of prospective clients.

Quite frankly, that’s a win-win-win for you, your clients and their other advisers. Now that’s a winning marketing strategy.

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