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'Don't keep me a secret' and 3 other ways to get referrals without asking

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In addition to last week’s three proven ways to get more referrals without asking, there are four more. Continue reading to see which ones you can start applying to your referral business.

1. “Don’t keep me a secret.” I’ve been teaching this simple phrase for more than a dozen years, and I’m impressed with two things: How many financial professionals are using this phrase with great success, and how often it results in a referral conversation right on the spot. It never hurts a relationship. Clients are not going to say, “I can’t believe you said that. Give me my check back.” Try saying this to your clients at the end of value-oriented meetings. Add it as a P.S. to your handwritten notes, e-mail signature and voicemail message.

2. Willingness to give referrals. This is a great technique to get a referral conversation started with anyone who is a small-business owner, salesperson or anyone who needs referrals for their business. You can use it with your prospects, clients, friends, people you meet at social functions and even neighbors. “Frank, you sound like you do pretty good work for your clients. Tell me, if I ran into a good prospect for your business, how would I know it, and how would you like me to introduce them to you?” When you demonstrate a genuine willingness to give referrals, many people reciprocate with you. This can be a great start to a productive center-of-influence relationship.

3. Celebrate referrals. Every time you meet a new prospect through a referral, make a big deal about it. Talk about the person you know in common. Say, “It’s great Tom introduced me to you. When I meet folks through referrals like this, it leaves me with more time to serve my clients, instead of spending time looking for clients. Make sense?” “And, quite frankly, it’s how most people prefer to meet their financial advisor.”

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4. “Who should I thank?” I got this simple technique from my business manager, Karen Hood. One day she was talking on the phone to a prospective client who called our office to see how we might be a resource for them. At some point in the conversation, Karen said, “By the way, who referred you to us so we know who to thank?”

I suggest you put the following message on your voice mail. “This is Mike Smith. Sorry I missed your call. Please leave a message at the tone. And if you were referred to us, please let us know who we should to thank.” This sends the message to all who call you that you get referrals on a regular basis – you are referable. And that you have an attitude of gratitude.

Bill Cates is the author of “Get More Referrals Now!” and “Don’t Keep Me a Secret!” Go to for more information and to sign up for his newsletter. Bill can be reached at [email protected].