professional woman in profile with finger to chin, thinking (Photo: Shutterstock)

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Influencers.  Today we think of them in the context ofsocial media.  As an agent or advisor, we can think aboutCenters of Influence in many ways. They might bepeople who advise others.  They can also be people whoknow other people.  People who can get you access to otherpeople.  People who can get someone to do something foryou as a favor to them.  Instead of looking at COI's fromthe inside out, it's a smarter strategy to become one of theminstead.  It's not that hard.

  1.  LinkedIn. Work to build your network of1st level connections.  Avoid the bruteforce strategy of hiring a service that will send anonymousmessages to hundreds or thousands, expecting a smallreturn.  Look at your contacts.  Invite them toconnect.  Look at people in your industry.  Howmany people do you know in common?  Invite them. Make an effort to get to know them.  Renewrelationships.
  2. Meet people socially. Whenever you attend communityevents, try to meet six new people.  Identify interests incommon.  When appropriate, exchange contactinformation.  Take notes afterwards.  This workswell if you treat them as the most interesting person in theroom.
  3. Meet the kids andparents.  With clients,we think of selling up and selling down.  With closefriends, take an interest in the next and previousgeneration.
  4. Renew vacationconnections.  You madefriends on holiday.  Keep up with them.  Duringthe pandemic, we had an excellent network.  We knew fromfirsthand reports on the ground how the lockdown was happening inseveral countries across five continents.
  5. Send holiday cards. You might think it's fallen out offavor, but a Christmas card and a holiday letter keep connectionsfresh.

Using your influencer skills

An advisor in the Boston area hada friend who just lost his job.  We would consider it aspecialized field.  The fellow asked the advisor, "Who doyou know in the field?"  The advisor took the timeto connect him with someone in his network.  Theconnection turned into a job for the friend.  The advisorwas now an influencer.

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This ties into fundraisingtoo.  You give a gift to a local charity.  Yourfirm likely has a matching gift program.  The charity getstwice as much.  You gift gets you into recognition eventswith the great and the good in your local area.  You makemore connections.  The charity wants morecontributions.  The charity starts to think of you as aninfluencer too.  Meanwhile, you are expanding yournetwork.   

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A third influencer skill involves your ability to raise moneyfor a nonprofit.  You have that rare ability to lookpeople in the eyes and ask them for money.  This puts youon the revenue side of the equation at your nonprofit.

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They will want you doing it more often.  They won'twant to lose you.  Perhaps putting you in front of theright people and getting you the right social invitations will behow they thank you.  Other nonprofits will try to get youover to their side.

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Your fundraising puts you in front of wealthy people. In many cases they like the people they meet who raise money,bringing them into their social circles.

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Look what's happened!  You started by seeking outinfluencers.  You became an influencer yourself.

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Bryce Sanders ispresident of Perceptive Business Solutions Inc. He provides HNWclient acquisition training for the financial services industry.His book, "Captivating the Wealthy Investor" can be foundon Amazon.

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Bryce Sanders

Bryce Sanders, president of Perceptive Business Solutions Inc., has provided training for the financial services industry on high-net-worth client acquisition since 2001. He trains financial professionals on how to identify prospects within the wealthiest 2%-5% of their market, where to meet and socialize with them, how to talk with wealthy people and develop personal relationships, and how to transform wealthy friends into clients. Bryce spent 14 years with a major financial services firm as a successful financial advisor, two years as a district sales manager and four years as a home office manager. He developed personal relationships within the HNW community through his past involvement as a Trustee of the James A. Michener Art Museum, Board of Associates for the Bucks County Chapter of the Fox Chase Cancer Center, Board of Trustees for Stevens Institute of Technology and as a church lector. Bryce has been published in American City Business Journals, Barrons, InsuranceNewsNet, BenefitsPro, The Register, MDRT Round the Table, MDRT Blog, accountingweb.com, Advisorpedia and Horsesmouth.com. In Canada, his articles have appeared in Wealth Professional. He is the author of the book “Captivating the Wealthy Investor.”