Referral acquisition is no longer reliant on word of mouth. Just a few short years ago, in order to cultivate referrals, financial professionals needed to deliver good products and service, communicate consistently and give clients an experience to talk with others about. Today, all of that is still true, but becomes meaningless unless what people are ultimately saying about you matches what can be found online. Because when they go online, you have all of a sudden moved to into the “red zone.”

If someone says something incredible like, “You have to go 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 and the money I will pass to my kids,” you have only reached the first step. Before coming in to see this “bright advisor,” that person will likely search online for more information, no matter what was said.

Today, 9 out of 10 people will search for you online before coming in to visit with you. Why? Because they can (and should) conduct research and do some due diligence to find out about you and your firm before coming in to share their confidential personal financial information. Think about it—we go online if we are considering a new refrigerator. If we are considering a financial professional, one whom we may invest our life savings with, we are even more likely to go online.

The problem begins if they can’t locate you online or if what they find is not up-to-date, clearly stated, or does not share the benefits of you and your firm. Even worse, what if the information they find out about you online doesn’t come close to matching the perception that they had in their mind about you after being referred? The disconnect between what they heard about you and what they see online could give them reason to pause. That pause can be the reason for not converting hard-earned referrals into appointments and sales. Ask yourself, does my online presence match who I really am?

To create that matching perception, your website homepage should include answers to five critical questions.  If it does not, it’s time to make some immediate changes.

 

5 Critical Questions Your Website Should Answer Clearly and Quickly:

1. What do you do and for whom?

2. Who are you?  (consider using pictures of you and your team)

3. What is unique about you?

4. Why should someone do business with you?

5. What are the benefits of what you will do for them?

 

If you think you should be receiving more referrals based on the good job you are doing for your clients, look first to your website and your online presence including social media. Your clients are likely talking about you because you are doing the type of work they consider valuable. They are referring you to others. However, it is your website and overall online presence that may be the cause of unfortunate fumbles in the red zone—during the very time that you are seconds away from converting those referrals into appointments and sales.