It’s no secret referrals are the best leads, and the best type of referral is the unsolicited referral. So how do you get those?
First, you have to create the “wow” experience for clients. The primary reason we lose clients is they feel they don’t hear from us as often as they should. We need to over-service our clients. For example, I believe every client needs to receive a phone call from our office every three months. I also use newsletters, cards and whatever else it takes to stay in touch.
Twice a year, we hold referral appreciation parties. If they referred someone to me in the last six months and we actually met, whoever referred them gets to come to the party. It’s usually a themed event, and we raffle off something significant. For example, one of our parties was held at a winery, and the gift was a trip to wine country in California. Once you do a couple of these, people start asking themselves, “Who can I refer, so I can go to the next event?”
Another effective technique is to take five or six of your top clients and create a “board of directors.” Tell them you need their help in determining how we can improve our client service and how we can grow our business. If you prove receptive to their ideas, they begin to feel like they’re your partners in this enterprise. Ultimately, as you talk about how to grow the business, the topic of referrals comes up as a natural part of the conversation. As board members, they feel obligated to begin referring business themselves. And because they are your top clients, you get the kind of referrals you really want.
Some of you are thinking, “I can’t afford any of this.” I want to challenge that way of thinking. One misconception many financial advisors share is they think of themselves as salespeople. In fact, we are business owners.