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Practice Management > Building Your Business

How advisors can maximize referability, part 1

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Many of the most successful financial professionals I have interviewed have a specific client service model. It drives their behavior as well as the behavior of their staff. Here are some important considerations to remember as you create your own model.

Types of client interaction

  1. Transactional: You must have good systems in place and standards set that allow you to deliver superior transactional service. Great transactional service should be a given. Every one of your clients expect this from you. It’s enough to keep many of your clients with you, but it won’t create true client loyalty or generate referrals. There has to be more to your relationships.
  2. Value-added: Here’s where you have a chance to start building loyalty and referability. For your “A” clients, you should think of 12 touches per year. The number of meetings you have is determined by the complexity of the situation. Many advisors are turning to a concept I call “themed meetings.” They create a value-centered theme for each meeting and most of their phone calls.
  3. Business friendships: It amazes me how many advisors think they have to keep a two arms-length distance from their clients. The truth is most of your clients would like you to be their business friend. One advisor I was talking to recently told me he’s convinced the only part of his newsletter his clients read is the section about his family and other personal interests.

There are many ways to establish and enhance your business friendships. Client appreciation events are a common and effective way. More personal events, such as dinner, lunch, a round of golf or trip to the theater, are also effective. Make a list of everything you can do to build value for your clients and everything you can do to build business friendships.

Now you are ready to start your client service matrix, which I will explain more in part two.

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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].


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