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Why Every Client Is Part of Your Sales Team

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It’s not just who you know, it’s who your clients know. If you don’t ask your clients to refer you, you miss your most critical business-development activity. 

Here’s what you said in SMA’s 2012 Advisor Survey

Q: What changes in your business do you have planned for 2012?

A: 60.9% said “develop new lead generation techniques.”

Q: How do you currently get new prospects?

 A: 90.4 % said referrals!

Q: Would you like to see/read more information on…

 A: 61.2% said creative prospecting techniques

The answer to your lead-generation question is right in front of you.

Everyone is a part of your sales team

If you don’t include your current clients in your referral-sales team, you leave money on the table — every single day. If you ask them, they will refer you. But you must ask.

Ask (and answer) the two most important sales-prospecting questions:

  1. How many client relationships do I have?
  2. With how many of these clients do I have great relationships? (Criteria for “great”: They return my calls.)

Savvy advisors have at least 100 strong client relationships. If just 20 percent offered you referrals, you’d have 20 amazing new contacts. Once you actively cultivate them, they become part of your “sales team.” Can you see where this leads, and how much business you could generate?

Take a few minutes and imagine your new sales life when you talk to prospects who want to talk to you. When you receive a referral introduction, you:

  • Are pre-sold (they know you and the results you deliver)
  • Have already earned trust (one of the hardest things for salespeople to gain)
  • Gain instant credibility (they know you’re not just there to “sell” them something)
  • Shorten your sales process by at least 25 percent (you decrease your cost of sales)
  • Convert that referred prospect to a new client more than 50 percent of the time (you decrease your prospecting time and increase your client-facing time)

It’s who you know

Most advisors have numerous current or former clients they know pretty well, well enough to receive a steady stream of referrals. But they leave untapped referral riches at their fingertips.

Your clients will help you make the sale

Here’s the hard fact: most clients think of us only when they need us. It’s up to you to get them thinking about you frequently.

The clients you serve well — the ones who know you, like you, and trust you—truly want you to achieve sales success. After all, they know your work and the savings and comfort they’ve realized from working with you. Referring you makes them look good to their friends and associates.

Our clients will refer us if only we ask. With a little “instruction” you can empower your clients (your Referral Source) to refer you. Teach them how to introduce you: how do you want “what you do” to be described? Teach them about your Ideal Client, and provide them with the answers to these critical questions:

  • What family and business issues do you solve?
  • Who is your Ideal Client?

The more specific you are, the easier it becomes for a client to refer you.

Referral selling sounds too good to be true. But it’s all true. Referral selling works. You choose how to spend your time. Get back in touch with your clients, ask them for referrals, and ask how you can help them. Your new sales opportunities will amaze you!

For more exclusive prospecting coverage, see:

52 Prospecting Tips: Clues for Success in the New Year

50 Best Ways to Generate Leads

What Causes Salespeople to Fail?


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