Let's start out with the definition of a COI or Center Of Influence. This person is a professional that works in an industry or with those that work in an industry that can feed you referrals, usually high quality, that are in your niche. To give you an example, when I was an insurance agent I needed to build relationships with mortgage lenders, so I built relationships with real estate agents. I attended events that mortgage lenders and real estate agents would attend.
Take this a step further, with a different type of COI relationship, when I was a Financial Representative I had a great COI relationship with an a CPA. We would meet for lunch every few months or so with our stacks of business cards from networking and would go through them and give leads to each other.
Let me back up. There is a HUGE difference between a lead and a referral. A lead is one that - like in the above example- she didn't have a relationships with but shook their hand and said I can use her name when I contact them. A cold lead - is one you would get from a marketing funnel, you have no introduction from anyone and while they don't know you - but they see that you can solve a problem for them.
I have a networking friend who had told me that the firm she started working for asks that all of their financial reps have 52 COI relationships. Why do you think that is? Yes, one COI lunch appointment a week and a constant flow of high quality warm and sometimes hot referrals headed your way. And. higher quality = higher closing rates.
This is why you HAVE to take the time to build these COI relationships. Understand though, that they may take a year or more to send you anything, they need to build their trust in you and make sure that you are going to stick around. Remember, with every referral that is given to you that person's name is attached to it. Some take this very seriously. Regardless, you have to start building these relationships and right away.
I hope this helps you with your referral generation.
Your In Success,