How to Maintain a Fruitful Relationship with Your Centers of Influence

We’re trying really hard to teach our kids how to properly navigate their relationships. One of the areas we focus on a lot is how to apologize.

When one of our kids has wronged another, they know to include these three parts in their apology:

  1. Remorse for what was specifically done.
  2. A plan for positive behavior in the future.
  3. Ask for forgiveness.

It’s a little complicated for our three-year old. He frequently mixes up all of the ideas and then ends with “I forgive you” to the person he’s asking for forgiveness. Thankfully, he’s pretty cute and is typically forgiven before he even gets to ask.

Adults don’t get the same amount of leeway when it comes to manners. I know I’m not the first one to say that common courtesy isn’t so common anymore. In fact, going out of your way to use your manners can seem downright strange these days, but if you are genuine, it will be received incredibly well.

As we wrap up our series on establishing relationships with your COI’s (centers of influence), I thought we should look at how to maintain those relationships in a way that demonstrates respect for the other people(and could increase your referrals).

Here are a few essential guidelines:

  1. Send a thank you note after meeting them or participating in any joint meetings. Handwritten notes are great for followup after a large event, especially if they invite you to one of their events and introduce you to their clients. A simple email will suffice after a guest post on their blog. Try to measure your response proportionally to the event.
  2. Always treat their clients with dignity. One of the most common ways for you to share large numbers of leads with your COIs is through webinars. If your COIs’ clients sign up for your webinar, you don’t want to keep emailing them indefinitely. This is where list segmentation becomes so tremendously important. You should create a set of emails (probably no longer than a set of 3) to introduce your practice to the new contacts with one desired action for them to do — like downloading an ebook they might find helpful (something specific to their niche is best). If they take that action, you can move them onto a new email workflow until they’ve reached the amount of warmth you desire before calling them. If they don’t respond to your initial introductory emails, stop emailing them. You can periodically reach out again, but allow some time to pass (3 months is adequate) and don’t serve them more than 3 emails again. Should they choose to not take action, do not email them again.
  3. Know ahead of time how you will thank your COI if one of their clients becomes your client, too. Have a specific plan for how you will thank your COI if this happens. Remember, this was the reason you established the relationship in the first place, and it’s paid off. If everything goes right, that client will produce income for you for several years, so don’t scrimp on the thank you gift. A card probably won’t cut it this time. It should be COI specific and memorable. The more personal your thank you is, the more emotional response it will invoke in the recipient, the more likely they are to send their best clients on to you. Also, embed these thank you’s into your workflow so you don’t forget.

Common courtesy says a lot about you, but these not-so-common courtesies can mean the difference between a profitable COI relationship and one that fizzles. So send those thank you notes after meetings, treat their clients with dignity, and create a memorable moment if your relationship results in a new client.

How do you say “thank you” to COIs when you sign their clients? Reach out if you need some help.

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