Sometimes in life you don’t get what you want, you get what you deserve. When it comes to referrals for your business, I sincerely believe this is true. If you are getting a lot of referrals, you probably deserve them. If you are not, you probably don’t.
So many advisors talk about the best way to generate referrals. How do they ask existing clients for them? What’s the best approach to getting them?
Unfortunately, some advisors, no matter how bad they want a referral or what they say to get them, aren’t going to get them. While others, seem to make it look easy. They don’t even ask and they get them consistently. So the question is, why? What’s the difference?
The key to getting a referral isn’t a set of magical words you use in order to unlock the secret. No, it’s not about what you say or when you say it. The first and most important step to gaining customer referrals is to build an incredible business that turns your clients into raving fans.
You’ve got to build a business that is great at what it does and has a service model that gives your clients a great experience with every interraction. Bottom line- you’ve got to build a referable business. That’s the first step.
Remember, when someone makes a referral they’re putting their name and their reputation on the line, they’ve got to be confident you will do an incredible job for their friends, family, or, acquaintances.
Once you have built a business that is “referable”, it’s now time to systematize your referral process so that you can enjoy a steady stream of referrals. Here are a couple of ways to do that.
Personalize your customer experience
If you want to build a referable business it’s important to enhance your customer service and set yourself apart with a differentiating value-add in the mind of your clients and prospects.
One way to do this is through “client-cloning.” I tell financial advisors to have their staff identify the birthdays of your top ten clients. Reach out to the client with the closest birthday and invite him or her out to a special birthday dinner where they can celebrate together.
But have them invite two of their closest friends/peers to celebrate with as well. They pick the place to go, the advisors picks up the bill.
On the night of the event, don’t talk about business, just enjoy your time together. Work on cultivating a relationship with their friends as well. Then, a few days after the fact, call your client and thank him or her for letting you celebrate the birthday with them. Then ask them for “advice” on whether or not they think it would be a good idea for your to reach out to their friends and thank them for joining as well.
They will always say yes, and more often than not, they will let you know they already told their friends how great of a job you do and that they should definitely meet with you. If you are able to do this strategy 10 times over the course of the year, you would have met with 20 of your top 10 clients closest friends. And worst case, let’s say you didn’t get any additional clients out of this process. You still gave your top 10 clients a great experience by doing this for them.
Trust me, the more you love and care for your current clients, the more referrals you are going to get.
Hosting events for clients and prospects is a way to naturally increase your level of customer experience and also clone your existing clients. (Photo: iStock)
Host recurring events for clients and prospects
The second way you can increase the amount of referrals you get is to coordinate events that your current clients want to attend.
You could host educational luncheons each month, or do a monthly wine tasting. Some do golf outings in the summer, or a big bbq with their clients. Regardless of the event, the idea is to create events that are over the top where clients will leave bragging to their friends.