Best Referral Sources for Financial Advisors
Any financial advisor who’s been in business for more than a minute knows the best way to grow a practice is through referrals. We’re taught from the very beginning that the best source of quality referrals is from clients. Advisors who focus on differentiating themselves by delivering exceptional, highly personalized services to their clients are often rewarded with referrals.
But clients aren’t the only source of referrals. Many highly successful advisors create a comprehensive referral marketing strategy that taps multiple sources. While building a fruitful referral network can take time and effort, it is the one sure way to establish a steady stream of qualified prospects.
Here are five of the best referral sources financial advisors can develop.
#1. Referrals form your existing clients
There is no better source of referrals than your clients, especially when you can continuously replicate your ideal client. Your goal should be to generate three to five client referrals a month. If you’re not, look to our past posts on how to generate more client referrals.
#2. Create ‘Centers of Influence’ to attract referrals
Centers of influence (COI) are well-connected people or organizations that come across individuals who may need financial advice. Attorneys and CPAs are typically at the top of the COI list as they will likely work with people who match your client profile. Referrals from attorneys and CPAs tend to be rock solid because their clients trust them implicitly. But they can also be harder to obtain as these professionals are extremely guarded when it comes to their clients.
It can take months of cultivation to build the type of relationship with attorneys and CPAs who feel comfortable enough with you and the value you can bring to their clients. Try to meet attorneys and CPAs who are also interested in growing their practice and spend time getting to know them, their practice, and the types of clients they’re looking for. You may have to be first in referring a client to get the ball rolling.
#3. Connect with community influencers
Though attorneys and CPAs can be powerful COIs, they can also be more challenging to cultivate unless you have an existing relationship. While you work on developing those relationships, don’t neglect the community influencers you run into every day. You may already have relationships with people in your community who are respected and run successful businesses, such as:
- Real estate developers
- Mortgage brokers
- Property and casualty insurance agents
- Title insurance agents
- Executive coaches
- Commercial lenders
- Community bank managers
- Hotel managers
- Charity fundraisers
- Clergy members
- Personal trainers
- Interior designers
Your goal should be to cultivate five to ten referral partners among business influencers in your community. Start with those with whom you already have a relationship and look for opportunities to introduce yourself to others.
#4. Become a community volunteer
People recognize generosity when they see it. Studies show that businesses that give back to their community are viewed more positively by people in their community. That’s becoming more important at a time when consumers are increasingly seeking out businesses that actively contribute to their community.
Advisors can increase their visibility and credibility substantially by volunteering their time and services, building valuable goodwill among influential community and business leaders who hold sway over people in their communities.
Here are several ways advisors can become active in their communities:
- Volunteer your advisory services to a community organization
- Make a workspace or meeting room available for community groups
- Have your staff volunteer to work with local service groups
- Contribute your time, skills, and knowledge as a board member for a local community group
- Become a sponsor for a little league or soccer team
#5. Become a joiner
Advisors who actively participate in community, professional, and social groups come in contact daily with people who know people who need financial advice. Joining fraternal organizations, professional associations, and community organizations opens the door to endless new relationships and networking opportunities while increasing your visibility in your community.
People want to refer friends and family to advisors they know and trust and with whom they share a bond. There’s no better way to earn that than by active social engagement.
Whether you’re cultivating a COI, a business influencer, a fellow group member, or your clients as referral partners, it’s vital to clearly communicate your value and how you are uniquely positioned to help people in their lives. Being able to deliver a well-crafted and compelling value proposition is critical.
Also, if you are joining an organization as a volunteer or for social engagement, your priority should not be to obtain referrals—that will happen organically as you forge relationships—rather, it should be to enjoy yourself while demonstrating your value as a human being. Then, when you make it known that you are expanding your business, your new friends will respond.
Watch this 2-minute video to learn how our 8-step training program will help you create your unique value proposition and develop a plan for using it day in and day out for the rest of your career to win over prospects and attract new clients.
Available as a self-paced program or in combination with an individual coaching session with Don Connelly, this program will help you reboot your practice and take it to new heights. Select your format and enroll now!