Loring Ward Uncovers Keys to Help Build Successful Referral Relationships with COIs

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Works with maslansky + partners to research real-time reactions of CPAs, estate planning attorneys and insurance specialists


This should be a wakeup call to advisors that many are not getting it right and need to rethink how they can better partner with clients’ other professionals.

According to the latest research whitepaper from Loring Ward, many advisors need to reconsider their approach to developing relationships with Centers of Influence (COI). Loring Ward set out to answer a question that seems to be on every advisor’s mind - how to develop meaningful, referral-worthy relationships, grounded in trust and partnership, with CPAs, estate planning attorneys and insurance specialists

To help get to the crux of this issue, Loring ward engaged Michael Maslansky, president and CEO of maslansky + partners, and a live panel of CPAs and estate planning attorneys to evaluate how advisors communicate and message with COIs. Using his real-time feedback technique, Maslansky provided powerful insights on how best to develop relationships with these centers of influence, and what (and what not) to say or do.

“Our research with Maslansky found that much of the conventional wisdom on COI referrals is wrong,” said Loring Ward executive vice president Steve Atkinson. “This should be a wakeup call to advisors that many are not getting it right and need to rethink how they can better partner with clients’ other professionals.”

Gaining Perspective
The panelists were each given a hand-held dial, which they used to provide immediate feedback as they watched pre-recorded videos from actual advisors talking about their process and how they work with COIs. Everyone started out with their dials set at a neutral 50. As they listened, they turned the dial up if what they heard made them more likely to want to work with that advisor. They would turn the dial down if they had an unfavorable response

The responses were telling. One panelist shared, “Make sure you don’t inadvertently diminish the roles others play. There is more to being a CPA or estate planning attorney than filling out forms.” As one estate-planning attorney put it, “I’m not a form jockey!” Other advisors were praised for a focus on customized plans for each client: “What I like from the financial advisors that I trust is that … [they] are thinking about what they are doing and giving unique advice to each person.”

Lessons Learned
The research whitepaper includes transcripts of the advisor videos and how they were rated. It also outlines six of the most important lessons learned from the panel. Leading the list: It isn’t about the advisor or the CPA or the estate planning attorney… it’s about the client. Finally, the whitepaper includes do’s and don’ts that should be followed to work with CIOs more efficiently.

“Collaboration is key for any relationship to be successful,” said Atkinson. “And the ‘secret sauce’ is for advisors and COIs to work together in each client’s best interest.”

Click here to view the full COI panel discussion.

Click here for the COI research whitepaper.

Since 1990, Loring Ward (LWI Financial Inc.) has been dedicated to helping independent advisors become the most trusted and valued professional in their clients’ lives. Headquartered in San Jose, California, Loring Ward is an advisory and investment management company committed to bringing science, reason and innovation to wealth management, with solutions tailored to the unique requirements of successful individuals, small businesses and institutions. Loring Ward’s Asset Class Investing philosophy combines almost nine decades of market data, Nobel Prize-winning academic research and the latest discoveries in behavioral finance.

From Investment Management to Business Management to Practice Development, Loring Ward is committed to giving advisors the tools, training and support to provide clients with a world-class experience. As of March 2014, Loring Ward has $10.8 billion in assets under management. For more information, please visit http://www.loringward.com.

LWI Financial Inc. (“Loring Ward”) is an investment adviser registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Securities transactions are offered through its affiliate, Loring Ward Securities Inc., member FINRA/SIPC. R 14-140 (Exp 3/16).

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William Chettle
Loring Ward
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