How to Get More Referrals
Referrals are integral to growing your business. They are one of the most profitable sources of new clients. So asking for referrals is a priority – even if the thought of doing so fills you with trepidation.
In order to get more referrals be selective where you focus your energy.
Determine the right time to ask your clients and try these different approaches in order to make asking for referrals more natural – and more productive.
Only ask clients you have a strong relationship with.
No-one will refer you until they trust you. There’s no shortcut to this.
You have to earn your way into your clients’ inner circle. If they don’t know you well enough asking for a referral will make you – and your clients – feel uncomfortable. They may worry you’ll let them down and put them in a bad light in front of friends and colleagues. It can take many years to establish the level of trust required for you to ask for a referral. But be patient. Put in the hard work, listen to your clients, exceed their expectations and over time they will be happy to introduce you to others.
While you’re building your relationship with a client, set the scene for obtaining referrals further down the line. Position yourself in your clients’ minds as being happy and willing to accept referrals when necessary; if at any point a client happens to meet anyone who needs serious financial help, let them know that your business would love to welcome them.
Clients like to back winners, not losers
In general people are only willing to help others if the gains outweigh the risks. As a financial advisor you’re not automatically entitled to introductions so you need to give your clients a reason for helping you. And while it may be hard for them to refer a ‘financial advisor’ per se (most people dislike discussing personal finances) it’s far easier for clients to recommend you as a trusted friend or confidant. Especially one who’s bright, well-presented and reliable.
So be positive and confident. Make yourself someone they would be proud to introduce to their friends.
Put your clients at the heart of your referral strategy
Don’t use worn out sales techniques. Instead focus on getting referrals by putting your customers and their friends at the heart of your referral strategy. Don’t see it as helping yourself – think about how you can help others.
When asking for a referral many advisors feel as though they’re begging for help which leads to embarrassment and hesitancy – or even leaving the issue for another day. Make yourself feel more comfortable by considering not who can help you, but who you can help.
Ask your clients if they are happy with your financial advice and feel like they did the right thing having you as their advisor. If they’re positive then ask them “who do you know who could also benefit from valuable financial advice?”
If you’re doing a great job for your clients then it makes logical sense that they should want their friends and family to have this sort of help and advice too.
So when you’re asking for referrals take the onus away from yourself – put the emphasis onto the people you can help.
Make referring you a natural step
Frank Maselli also talks about making referrals more about the clients’ needs than your own needs. Reinforce to clients that there’s only an upside to referring you – that you take referrals very seriously. Rubber stamp this with your personal guarantee that you treat valued referrals in the same way you treat your existing clients i.e. with a ‘gold’ level of service.
By describing how you would approach working with their friends and colleagues you are presenting clients with an easy decision to make.
Finally, once you’ve earned a referral, make sure you show your appreciation for your clients’ help in referring you. Keep them posted with how things work out. A handwritten note can go a long way. Getting referrals can be a painstaking job but if you want to build a good business you must succeed in doing what is necessary – no matter how bitter the medicine – because referrals are the best way by far to gain new prospects.