From the August 2005 issue of Investment Advisor • Subscribe!

Looking back

Some things never change, and for advisors one of them is that referrals are among the best ways to draw new clients. In the July 1992 Sales & Marketing column, Jerome Schneider, then president of American National Securities, Beverly Hills, California, offered some advice on the subject:

The easiest way [to get referrals] is to simply ask. If you do an outstanding job for them, most clients are more than willing to give you the names of friends or relatives who could also benefit from your service. And if you suggest it, many will even call those people and make direct recommendations.

One good way to prompt such action is to ask this question: 'What do I need to do to make you so happy with my service that you'd call your friends, relatives, or business associates and tell them what a terrific job I've been doing?'... Asking this question can pay off in three ways:...It gives you a better understanding of what's most important to that client...It builds the client's confidence level by showing how much you care about meeting his needs...If you listen well to the response and act on it successfully, it almost always guarantees you'll get referrals.

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