The good news about living in our computer-saturated world is that referral acquisition is no longer reliant solely on word of mouth. Just a few short years ago, a referral required that a financial professional deliver an experience good enough to share with others. Today that is still true, with the additional requirement that what people say about you must match what can be found online.

Your client might tell her friend “You have to see my financial advisor! She is very bright, she cares about her clients so much, and I personally trust her to take care of my money.” But this is only the first step in referral generation. Before coming to see you, this prospect will likely search online for more information — no matter how good your client says you are.

And it’s not just likely, it’s very likely: Nine out of 10 people will search for you online before coming in for a visit. What happens if they can’t locate you or if what they find online is not up to date, clear or representative of the benefits you provide? Or worse, what if what they find out about you online doesn’t come close to matching what your client has said? Ask yourself if your online presence matches with who you really are.

To ensure your website matches what your happiest clients say about you, make sure your site answers these four critical questions:

  1. What do you do?
  2. Who do you serve?
  3. What is unique about you?
  4. Why should someone do business with you? What are the benefits they will derive?

If you think you should be receiving more referrals based on the good job you do for clients, look first to your website. Your online presence could be causing you to miss out on valuable opportunities to convert referred prospects into clients.

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Maribeth Kuzmeski is the founder of Red Zone Marketing, LLC, which consults to Fortune 500 firms on strategic marketing planning and business growth. For more information, go to www.redzonemarketing.com.