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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

How Financial Advisors Get An Abundance of Referrals

Everyone tells you to get client referrals, that it’s the easiest way to build your business. But how many financial advisors do you know who get an abundance of referrals? Not too many. And how many producers work hard at it, but end up with little results? They join the board of a non-profit, they contribute to the symphony and get season tickets, and they hobnob in the “right” places. That’s a lot of work for uncertain results. Successful referral gatherers simply have their clients bring them more people. Those few financial advisors who have a continuous stream of client referrals have discovered three things that you too can use to generate that continuous client referral flow.

1. When starting off a new client relationship, you must ask your new client, “What will I need to do so that you tell all of your friends about me?” WRITE DOWN THE ANSWER AND THEN DO IT! Most clients will not say, “I want a 25% annual return,” or some other request that is impossible to honor. They will say something like, “I just want you to stay in touch every couple months, help me not to lose money and call back the same day when I call you.” You can certainly promise this and deliver it.

2. After 60-90 days, you set up a meeting with your client. You explain that the meeting is to do a review and for their assistance in developing your business. Tell them to bring their phone/address book. At the meeting you read to them what they told you at the beginning of the relationship. You read them the requirement they stated in step #1 above. Then ask them if you have done what they required. They then see that you did what you promised and they will also. They will provide you client referrals.

3. Last, you need to get your client to introduce you to the referral. If you just get a referral name and phone number from a client, that’s pretty worthless. When you call the referral without an introduction don’t expect much because: They don’t know who you are. They don’t know what you do. They don’t know why you are calling. They don’t know how you got their name. They don’t know why somebody gave you their name and they are not expecting your call. Therefore, you need your client to call the referral, send a note or physically introduce you.

Getting your client to send a note is easiest because you can have your client sign a standard form letter saying how great you are. With your client’s permission, you then run it back through your printer adding your client’s return address. The note arrives at the referral’s home and appears to have been sent from your client’s home. Of course, not every client will provide referrals. However for those clients that provide none, you will have other clients that provide 25. The key is to treat this as a system rather than an ad hoc process of asking whenever you remember. This process is neither a lot of work nor very time consuming. Best of all, you can build these three simple steps into your normal client monitoring procedures. Three simple steps to generate new clients every month.

Learn how to get professional referrals from CPAs, attorneys and other business owners.