We all have a referrals fantasy. Someone walks in, drops their statements on your desk and says: “You’re my new guy. Where do I sign?” When clients send along their friends, the sale isn’t done yet, but you have a lot of factors already in your favor.
A Referral Arrives: What Assumptions Can I Make?
If a client sends a friend in your direction, there are some things it’s pretty safe to assume.
1. They have a need. There’s a problem that needs solving. Few people ask their friends if they know any good agents or advisors just out of curiosity.
2. They want to make changes. Something isn’t going well. Maybe they tried managing their money on their own and it isn’t working out. Maybe their advisor left and they were reassigned. Maybe they received a windfall and need some advice.
3. Referrals are interested. You aren’t a name that came up during an Internet search – you are a person they invested some time to discover, either by asking a friend who they knew in the business or by their friend sensing a problem and suggesting you might be able to help with a solution. They want to talk with you.
Your First Meeting
Here are a few points that are good to know for first meetings, especially if the person across from you is a referral.
1. If it makes sense, they are on board. They left their previous job. They have money in their former firm’s 401(k) plan. They want to pull it out and put it somewhere. Your firm offers IRA rollovers. It’s a square peg, square hole. Maybe it doesn’t always work smoothly, but they came to you for specialized advice.