All too often, advisors come out of the blue with a request for referrals that floors many of their clients. The clients are startled, confused and put on the spot, and the advisors are left with too few contacts or a handful of random names with little chance of real follow-up. How does an advisor avoid this costly mistake?

  1. Let your client know you’ll be asking for referrals at the end of your meeting.
  2. Be specific about your request. Have a few detailed questions prepared in case they don’t understand what you’re looking for.
  3. Have reasons ready why they should give you referrals. Because they are putting their image and reputation on the line with each name they give, they must understand why it is in their best interest to help you.
  4. Set up standards against which your performance can be measured.
  5. Avoid the dead question. Rather than suggesting referrals, ask for them.