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The typical approach advisors use to cultivating center-of-influence (COI) relationships is dead wrong. To avoid the mistaken strategy that your competitors are surely pursuing, here’s a radical way to build referrals through COIs.

I’m sure you have heard this advice: “COI marketing is the way to go.”

The theory goes something like this: “Partner with the CPAs and estate attorneys in town and build your practice through dozens of professional referrals.”

This doesn’t work, at least the way most advisors go about this.

In my early days of working with advisors, I interviewed over 1,000 advisors by phone to find out what worked and what did not. Not one had successfully built their practice on this flawed premise.

Some advisors had leveraged one strategic relationship and built their initial practice through a single, key channel.

Others had formed a loose alliance of complementary service partners who worked with several of the same clients. This model helped deliver improved results for those clients and, in some cases, yielded some big new relationships for the financial advisors.

In contrast, most advisors spent years building professional relationships, given dozens of referrals over time, and gained only a trickle of business in return.

In some cases, advisors invested as much as a day a week with literally nothing to show for it. For example, one advisor I talked with met with 86 potential sources of professional referrals, without gaining a single new client.