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An onboarding system that results in immediate referrals

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When a prospect transitions into a client, they may experience your firm as very in-touch and responsive. But after the accounts are opened and the prospect officially becomes a client, the communication can fall off. Your new client may feel like you just wanted to land them.

So, a process of regular, new client communications was developed to not only stay in touch during this sometimes quiet period, but to strengthen the relationship. And it has resulted in a higher percentage of referrals from these new clients.

The communication process begins right after someone becomes a client and consists of a series of letters (or emails) that are sent out seven to 10 days apart.  Here are brief descriptions of the letters:

1. Team introduction

Send a letter that introduces (and in some cases re-introduces) each member of the team with their pictures. This letter is often saved by clients so they can remind themselves of who everyone is in the office.

2. Individual client orientation

Send a letter inviting the client to a one-on-one client orientation call or meeting with a staff person to go over online access, how to read their statements, review expectations, discuss future meetings, etc.

3. Gift and letter

Send a letter and a small gift — typically a book — thanking them for being a client and providing a quick summary of the book.  (If sent by email, send an Amazon Gift Certificate with a book suggestion).

4. Client survey

Send a letter and survey asking them for feedback on how you are doing so far. It can be something simple like a report card that includes 10 questions asking your new client to grade you on a scale of A-F.  The final question is, “Would you be willing to refer us to others?”

5. Soft referral request

Send out a letter with a soft request for referrals. The key is to let them know that you are interested in referrals and explain what it means to you.

You should receive the most referrals during the first six months of the business relationship. This is the time when there is something new and exciting to talk about, and you are more top of mind.

In fact, several years ago, we conducted a study with financial advisors who had practices grossing over $750,000. These businesses all had processes and systems in place, although each was different. We did not test for their onboarding process specifically, but we did look at their past data relating to their top clients and referrals. Sixty-three percent of the referrals they received came in from those who had recently become a client (the first six months).

Take advantage of this propensity to refer by paying a little more attention to the client during a typically quiet period. We have found that this series of communication often leads to, well, more.


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