Did you develop your script, role-play, ask yourself if you’re referable, etc.? Of course, this exercise is extremely valuable for acquiring referrals. The reality is, however, that most financial advisors – and most professionals in general – don’t like to have to ask for referrals. It’s the same reaction most of us have to cold calls – if we don’t have to, we won’t.
Most things that we don’t feel comfortable doing are discontinued after a period of time. So I decided to look for referral generating strategies that don’t require asking. What follows are three proven, referral-boosting strategies that don’t require you, the advisor, to be an expert at asking for referrals.
It’s about the relationship
Some of this industry’s top advisors receive 100 or more referrals each year without ever directly soliciting them. How do they do it? They tell me it’s because of the relationship they have with their clients. The clients simply want to introduce their friends, family and colleagues to the advisor.
Ask yourself a few questions: Do my clients know I care? How do I show or tell them? Do my clients like me? The truth is that if they like you, they will refer more business to you. Performance alone seldom gets you the number of referrals you deserve.
One of the best ways to develop the relationship is through systematic client reviews. Determine how many times you want to meet with each client, record this in your database, schedule the reviews, and schedule their next review while they are in your office for their current review. When you build the relationship in a personal and impactful way, the referrals will start coming in.
Your staff may be repelling referrals
If you believe you are a great financial advisor, ask yourself this question: “Does my staff think I’m a great financial advisor?” If the answer is “no,” they may have to go. It might sound harsh, but a staff person that is not passionate about what you do may actually be hindering your referrals and sending the wrong message to your prospects and clients. When they are passionate, many referrals will be generated by your staff directly. So if your staff doesn’t think you’re all that great, why would your clients? It’s more transparent than you may think.
Seminars in a niche
Consider developing a “5-5-5-20″ seminar. Pick five or more of your clients that are in a niche (i.e., they retired from the same company). Mail each client five invitations to an upcoming workshop on a seminar like, “How to retire from local company without making big mistakes.”
Then make phone calls to the five clients personally asking them to pass those invitations along to others who are getting ready to retire from this company. This has been done hundreds of times and, on average, 20 people will be in attendance at your workshop. It costs very little, attendees actually want the information, and often you don’t even need to serve dinner.
This strategy doesn’t replace public seminars that work to generate lots of new prospects to your firm, but is a complementary strategy. The “5-5-5-20″ allows you to receive referrals without ever asking for them directly.
Just because you don’t like to ask for referrals doesn’t mean you can’t receive them. Just find alternative ways of getting them – without asking. It may be a much more sustainable strategy in the long run.