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4 Ways to Ask for Referrals

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OK, you’ve been to more seminars on growing your business through referrals than you can count. Sometimes, we take something that should be simple and make it complicated.

(Related: 7 Ways to Stay on Your Prospect’s Radar)

Let’s look at four ways you can get referrals for potential insurance or investment business.

1. Introductions

It’s a small world. You know who you want to meet, the people who would be ideal clients. This small world concept works both ways. People in a specific profession or industry often know the local players quite well.

It’s as simple as: “Boris, do you Natasha at Goldstar Media?? No? “Then do you know someone who knows Natasha? Maybe they could provide an introduction.”

You will immediately notice LinkedIn maps this out for you. You know who knows who. You also know who knows an intermediary with the right connections.

2. Introductions to organizations

When we think of potential clients, we primarily think about people. We forget organizations like non-profits also have insurance and investment needs. Your client might be a longtime volunteer at the historical society of the art museum. They have needs you might be able to meet. Because they are an organization, they likely have an annual review process when they decide to change carriers or stick with their current providers.

Your client makes the introduction. You learn how the review process works. You ask to be allowed to present and compete during the review process.

3. Requesting specific referrals

Ever ask, “Do you know anyone I might be able to help?”?

Often your friend or client says, “Can’t think of anyone, but I’ll let you know.”

The more specific the request, the greater the likelihood they will think of someone. “Who do you know that is retiring in the next six months?” “Who do you know that has recently changed jobs and firms within your industry?”

You explain these people often have certain issues that need attention, like rollovers of 401(k) plan assets from their former firm. You’ve helped other is similar situations. You might be able to help them too.

4. Entertaining to advantage

In many cultures, cultivation is part of the process for getting new business. You might think this means business lunches. Broaden your horizons. Your prospect, who you know from the Chamber, is an opera fan, just like you. You invite them out to dinner, rounding the group out to six with another couple. The additional couple are friends of you and the prospect. Ideally they are current clients. Everyone gets on well.

When your prospect asks the other couple, “How do you know Bryce and Jane?” they tell your story without any prompting or prep from you.

There are many ways to ask for referrals. Hopefully one or more of these approaches will be a good fit for your practice.

— Read 10 Ways to Tactfully Get Your Point Acrosson ThinkAdvisor.

Bryce SandersBryce Sanders is president of Perceptive Business Solutions Inc. He provides HNW client acquisition training for the financial services industry. His book, “Captivating the Wealthy Investor,” can be found on Amazon.