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3 Steps to Creating Professional Partnerships

June 01, 2022

The Secret Ingredients of a Successful COI Strategy

One of the best ways to grow your business is through referrals from other professionals such as attorneys, real estate agents, CPAs, trust professionals, and other centers of influence (COI). But how do you identify and nurture COI partnerships to ensure that they are mutually beneficial?

Professional partnerships are a fruitful referral source where the focus is placed on solving client needs jointly. By doing what is right for each client while building and maintaining trust with the professional partner, you distinguish yourself and create a more referable practice.

Follow this 3-step process:


  • Identify potential centers of influence during re-discovery meetings with top clients
  • Build time into your calendar weekly to source some professional partners
  • Establish 3 strong partnerships (ex: Real Estate Attorneys, Accounts, HR/Retirement Plan Administrators)
  • Get creative and look for non-traditional partners (Executive Search Professionals, High-end Travel Planners, Professional Fundraisers, etc.)


  • Show the value that you offer to your clients as an alternative to asking them for a referral(show, don’t ask
  • Understand the value the professional partner offers to their clients—their business model, niche they serve, client needs they solve, etc.
  • Talk less about yourself and more about your practice and what you may have in common, or can do together, that may help your clients, especially at the initial meeting


  • Routinely check in with your professional partners
  • Maintain a mutually beneficial relationship so that helps drive business to both parties for years to come
  • Invite your professional partners to an educational / training session; also consider inviting your professional partners to non-professional events so that you can create personal relationships with them
  • Host mutual client events to build an outside of work partnership


  • Myth
  • Truth
  • You must share revenue for a relationship to work.
  • Strong relationships are often built on how you help clients rather than sharing revenue. A strong relationship will provide referrals.
  • You should stop working with a partner for giving the wrong type of referrals.
  • Mis-matched referrals come from poorly communicated expectations. Clarify the type of client you work with for your COI.
  • CPAs and attorneys know what you expect of them in a relationship.
  • You must tell them what to expect—for example, who your ideal client is, your advice and investment management process, etc.
  • They are probably already working with someone else.
  • Strong relationships can be built based on your unique process for solving client problems.


Your COI referral efforts should be focused on establishing long-term, profitable partnerships. The benefits of developing strong professional partnerships include:

  • More consistent flow of ideal client prospects
  • Reduced client acquisition expense
  • Increased revenue potential

Nothing is more powerful than a warm, personal introduction to someone who can help the client solve an immediate need. ´╗┐If you are interested in discussing any of these topics further, give Iron Point a call today!