Asking for client referrals likely isn’t your favorite part of your job. Am I right?
Let’s be honest, it can be hard to muster up the confidence to ask for referrals. Whether you want to admit it or not, there is a certain amount of discomfort, angst or even fear around it. Most advisors are afraid they may come off as too “salesy” if they ask clients directly for referrals.
Yet, ironically, a survey conducted by SEI Advisor Network found that a top priority for financial advisors is to become more referable and to increase client referrals.
So if growing client referrals is a top priority for advisors, but there is a level of anxiety around asking for referrals, how can financial advisors increase their overall referability?
First and foremost, start with being confident. Take the time to reflect on your business. You’ve worked extremely hard to build your practice and to build deep relationships with your clients. Be proud of the business you’ve built. Project confidence. Not ego, but rather confidence that is balanced with a mix of both humility and pride.
Think about this for a minute. If you always put your clients first and you truly believe in your business model, your unique value proposition, as well as the products and services you offer, then you have earned the right to ask for those highly coveted quality referrals.
By projecting confidence in your business and truly caring about your clients, you will naturally become more referable.
The Good News
Research shows that 96% of affluent clients are comfortable in providing referrals.
Furthermore, 50% of affluent clients say they have actually referred someone to their personal financial advisor.
In other words, clients do indeed want to refer you. This is incredibly good news.
The takeaway here should be that you just have to project that confidence and ask.
It goes without saying the goal in getting new referrals is obtaining quality referrals. The truth is you really don’t want referrals from everyone. Be selective. It is always best to start with your very best clients who are already your raving fans and whom you have a deep connection with.
Quality Referrals Are Closer Than You Think
Those quality prospects are closer than you think. If you do begin with your very best clients, what you may not realize is that your best referrals might be right under your nose.
In many cases, getting new ideal prospects can be as easy as being referred to your current clients’ adult children and grandchildren. The benefit of these referrals is two-fold. Not only are you obtaining quality referrals, but you are building multi-generational relationships at the same time. Research shows when adult children receive an inheritance after both of their parents die, only 2% keep their parents’ financial advisor.
Gaining adult children and grandchildren as new clients early dramatically decreases the risk of losing the assets when their parents pass away.
You also want to be sure you are asking your best clients for referrals to their friends and professional network. Your clients likely associate with like-minded individuals. Referrals from your best clients will put you on well on your way to replicating your best clients.
A Process Is Imperative
It is important, however, that when you ask for referrals, you have a disciplined process to routinely find new quality prospects and measure your results. Your efforts likely won’t reap rewards if you are merely randomly asking for referrals in the dark without any sort of process in place.
Very few financial advisors have a formal referral process. By creating even the simplest process, you will definitely be ahead of the game.
Start by creating a realistic and manageable goal of the number of referrals you want to ask for each month. Set weekly reminders in your calendar to keep yourself accountable. Be sure you are tracking your referrals.
Once you obtain the referral, secure an introductory meeting to be sure working together is the right fit. Prepare a specific agenda, clearly articulate your unique value proposition and offer a complimentary, no obligation review.
Be sure you formally thank both the referee and the referral with a handwritten note or a small gift as a token of gratitude. You might also want to consider hosting a special thank you dinner or luncheon once or twice a year to thank those who have provided you with quality referrals and to show your appreciation.
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The Bottom Line
While asking for referrals may not be completely in your comfort zone, research shows that clients do indeed want to refer you. Don’t leave your referrals to chance, you just have to ask!
You can become more referable by simply being confident in your in worth as a financial advisor. Remember, you are an expert and offer tremendous value to your clients. By simply asking your best clients if they know anyone who can benefit from your services, you will open the door to receiving high quality referrals.
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