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Would you like to make more money, work less and have more fun?

Most of us know what to do when we are in front of a good prospect, but few of us have taken the time to build a system that generates a consistent flow of well-qualified referrals. In my case, referrals from influential advisors have made the difference from simply qualifying for Million Dollar Round Table membership each year, to becoming a regular Court and even Top of the Table qualifier.

How does the referral stream work? Simple: unbeknownst to me, a prospect becomes aware they have a problem, mentions it to a trusted advisor — perhaps their CPA, lawyer, planner, P & C agent, consultant or board member — who in turn tells them I can help. Due to the trust and influence of their advisor, they are open and forthcoming from the initial meeting with me. They give me the benefit of the doubt and see me as a member of their team.

Twenty years ago, I began to build my “Center of Influence” program. I started with lawyers who were in the estate planning area. What I did not understand then was most professionals do not see helping their client build a team of competent advisors as part of their job description. It’s just not in their DNA — they don’t refer to anyone!

If you want referrals, you need to look for an advisor who is proactive, who the client holds in high regard and who the client seeks out for advice before taking action. I want the client to see them as a member of their “board of directors.”

My first meeting with a prospective Center of Influence is usually over breakfast or lunch. It’s a fact-finder. I want to find out if the Center is that rare breed who has the proactive gene! I want to find that out as soon as possible because it takes years to develop the trust needed to actually get referred by the Center to their clients. If I think they have the potential to become a Center, I arrange to meet with them three to four times a year.

When I can’t be face-to-face, I use the following techniques to stay engaged and connected:

  • Send quarterly newsletters and monthly emails
  • Use social media: a custom website and LinkedIn
  • Place ads in their professional journals
  • Speak at their firms or professional associations at least once a year

This system will increase both the quality and quantity of prospects, which will have a dramatic effect on your bottom line. No other person on the prospect’s team understands your products as well as you do. Take the time to build a system so it is clear to your prospect you are the expert they need.

For more exclusive prospecting tips, see:

100 Best Sales & Marketing Ideas Ever

6 Referral Seeds Worth Planting

Stop the Prospecting Madness