Since your next great client would prefer to meet you through a referral above any other way, I hope meeting people through referrals is your primary method of prospecting for new clients. Is it?
Be a creator of visions.
One way you provide great value to your prospects and clients is by helping them articulate a vision for their future — financial, lifestyle and otherwise. The better you are at helping them picture what they want their life to be like through proper financial planning, the more valuable you will be to them and the more successful you will be at acquiring and serving more clients.
Helping your prospects and clients create a vision is a powerful service you need to deliver. And it starts on the very first appointment.
What about your vision?
Do you share your vision of your success with your clients? If you don’t, you’re missing a powerful step in the referral process. You have many clients who would be perfectly willing to take a stake in your practice by introducing you to potential clients. You just have to prime the pump to make it happen.
The first step is gaining their trust. Most people enjoy helping people they like and trust. What’s the fastest way to do this? Value and service. You must always be looking for ways to bring value quickly to your relationships and to serve them as best you can. Who do we tend to like and trust the most in our lives (at least our business lives)? People who serve us.
Why would clients want to take a stake in your business?
What’s in it for your clients to take a stake in your business? A couple of things come to mind right away:
1. You’ll have more time to pay attention to them and serve them. Some clients mistakenly think that by introducing someone to you, you’ll have less time for them. Of course, the truth is, we’ll run even faster and jump even higher for them. I believe your clients — especially your “A” clients — need to know your vision for your referral-based business and how it impacts them.
2. You’ll always be there for them. If you’re fairly new in this business, here’s a second reason. You know that the average life of a financial professional is about as long as that of a fruit fly. I don’t have to tell you that most people don’t make it in this business. Many of your prospects and clients know this, but they are unlikely to bring it up to you. It’s your job to teach them how your success will contribute greatly to their success; how your vision for your practice will benefit them. As their needs change, you’ll be there every step along the way. They won’t have to tell their story, yet again, to a stranger.
Not only do you want to tell your prospects about your vision and what that means to them, you want to explain how you intend to reach that vision, namely, through the introductions to other successful people like them; and that you intend to earn the right to be introduced to who they know by providing expert advice and outstanding service.
Here’s an example of what you might say:
“One of the things I’d like to do in this meeting is to briefly share with you the vision I have for my business and what it means to you. I want to devote as much time as I can to my clients’ needs and servicing those needs. As you might imagine, every business — including my own — needs to be on the lookout for clients who are the right match for the work we do. I’ve found that when my clients take a stake in my business by introducing other successful people to me, I can spend maximum time serving my clients. Besides, this is how most people want to meet their financial professional — through an introduction from someone they already trust. As we work together, I hope you’ll feel that I deliver the kind of value that will earn the right to have you recommend me to others. Does this make sense?”
A more professional approach
Now isn’t this approach much more professional and much more client-centered than the old, trite statement such as “One way I get paid is by referrals”? If not presented properly, this old-style statement can create tension and even damage rapport and trust. Most of your clients will be perfectly happy to help you succeed, but they don’t want to be expected to pay you with referrals. They want you to earn the right to know who they know through a trusted relationship and your good service.
Share your vision for what success looks like to you. Say that you know you’ll only get there through the good will of your clients that you earn through continued great service. You’ll see your practice reap great rewards.