It has been said that one of the best ways to build your client base is through referrals. But if you’re like many agents and advisors, you struggle to persuade clients to regularly offer them up. Here are some myths that may be preventing you from acquiring more qualified referrals:

1. My clients love me, but I still don’t get referrals.

If you provide service beyond your clients’ expectations, they’ll have something to say about you. If you service your clients above and beyond with proactive calls and on-the-spot follow-up, not only will you get referrals, you’ll be able to easily cross-sell other products and services. When you service well, you give your clients something to talk about.

2. Referrals will come with doing a good job.

Performance alone seldom gets you the number of referrals you deserve. The reality is that even when accounts are performing well, clients still may not refer you. Are you taking the time to really listen to your clients?

In the book Blink, author Malcolm Gladwell references a study done to find out why certain surgeons never got sued. When looking at surgeons and their practices, they found that the surgeons who didn’t get sued spent an average of three minutes longer with each patient. During those three minutes, the surgeon simply listened. In so doing, these surgeons silently but clearly told the client, “I think you’re important enough for me to take a few minutes to hear what you have to say.” When we look at top salespeople, it’s not surprising that more than 50 percent of their meetings are spent listening.

3. Referral acquisition is not a marketing strategy.

Many of your best clients may have come to you through referrals. But do you have a system in place for drawing great new clients to your firm? If you don’t, you’re not alone. Having a plan brings focus to obtaining the best leads. Set a goal for how many referrals you’d like to receive this year. Determine what you will do each week to accomplish that goal. Write it down and share it with your staff.

Busting these referral myths could have a dramatic effect on your referral fortunes. And the best news is you can do it without a huge expenditure on traditional marketing. There’s nothing mythical about that!

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