Recently, I had the opportunity to hear prospecting and referral guru Dan Allison speak at MDRT in Vancouver. Allison’s topic was on how advisors can end prospecting and referral challenges for the rest of their career.

As Allison’s consulting business takes him around the country, these are the most common challenges he hears from advisors:

  1. Getting referrals from top clients and professional relationships
  2. Rolling out new products or strategies to prospects
  3. Getting a high conversion rate out of workshops or seminars
  4. Getting face time with more prospects

He believes by developing a core focus group you can solve all these problems. With the focus group, you identify your top clients. Not necessarily your top-dollar clients (although they can be) but those clients with whom you feel the strongest rapport. You value their opinion and you know they won’t sugar-coat things.

Allison says if you identify, say, your top 25 clients, then you need to set up one-on-one, hour-long discussions with them, where you aren’t trying to sell them anything. You’re on a fact-finding mission to discover what they know about you and your services and where
the gaps are between what they believe and what the reality is.

Here are some key findings Allison has uncovered in talking to advisors:

  • Advisor’s top clients don’t “refer” because they don’t know or understand your services and products.
  • Top clients will more likely refer you if they have a clear understanding of your “ideal client.”
  • Satisfied clients don’t refer; “elated” clients refer. Make sure clients truly value their experience with you.
  • Explain your services and products to clients. Be very clear about what you offer. You will often find you offer additional products they truly need.
  • Be vigilant about getting feedback from your top clients on what does and doesn’t work in your relationship.
  • Implement interactive client surveys with your top clients.
  • Six of 10 clients say: “you (the advisor) need to do a better job of asking for referrals.”

Allison found in his studies that clients often know at least three people they can refer to you right now … if you just open the dialogue with them and let them know what you offer and what you’re looking for in an ideal client.
Ask yourself this question: Do your top clients know your full range of services and what you’re looking for?