Advisors: Work the Top of Your Sales Funnel Correctly To Get Predicable Referrals

I hope that you are getting ready for a meaningful and relationship deepening Thanksgiving holiday wherever you may be this coming Thursday.  To the first responders and military personnel around the world protecting us here at home, my prayers and thanks go out to you constantly.

I have a lot to be thankful about this year.  My second book was recently published and my coaching business is doing well (always room for another ideal client though).  For this edition of the ‘Can I Borrow Your Car?’ newsletter I thought I would go big picture for you and discuss the most common reason why financial advisors and other highly compensated sales professionals don’t ever make the transition from ‘accidental’ to ‘predictable’ referral results.

This is because you don’t understand the fundamental rule of sales and marketing:  consistent and evolving activity.  Where this plays out in ANY sales role is at the top of the sales funnel.  This is where you are identifying and beginning outreach to ideal prospects…trying to get recognized and deemed worthy of taking a call and/or meeting with you.

Where this falls apart is when we try to skip or ignore the many layers of communication and follow through that needs to occur naturally before a good prospect is likely to want to meet with you when they weren’t originally in the market for your services at the initial contact. 

Can you avoid spewing commission breath all over the new relationship?!? 

Sadly, on this very platform I see it happen all the time and it is almost always a direct result of the following two factors:

  1. Automation.  I know that I get at least 10 inauthentic outreach efforts per week.  The last one was from a person that appeared to be real.  They mentioned in the connection request that they were going to be in my town later on in the month and wanted to know if I had a steak restaurant to recommend.  I decided to take a risk and answer…and got immediate automated responses about what they did for a living and follow up automated responses (immediate) when I responded no thanks.  This is so stupid.
  2. Desperation and impatience.  Do you buy immediately when you meet someone?  I don’t either and we should remember that when developing relationships.  The guideline is to operate like you are at a good friends party:  don’t drink too much and don’t talk about yourself too much. 

Instead, work the top of the funnel like a real professional. 

Do the research and preparation necessary to identify both ideal prospects and to have a reason for them to meet with you that is clearly in their best interests…you need to be able to describe the measurable (not subjective) reasons that they should consider what you are offering.

Additionally, if you really want to get predictable referrals you need to be worth meeting and getting introduced to ideal prospects that have no intention of buying at the moment.

This is sometimes hard for clients to understand so let me give you some bullet points:

  1. Are you interesting and professional enough, in general, for me to be willing to introduce you socially to my best relationships and know that you aren’t going to ‘wreck the car’?  Most referral sources are only going to refer you to relationships of theirs that want to buy…to get the 10x more introductions to ideal prospects and have an evergreen and everflowing sales pipeline you have to get introduced earlier in the buying process.
  2. Will you enhance my relationship with the person I am referring you to?  This is a big part of being a referral rock star.  When I know that the person I referred you to will thank me for introducing you to them, even if they don’t buy, you are going to get more introductions from me…and will end up doing business with a lot of my network as a direct result of that exposure and enthusiastic support.

Where to start?

With your top relationships instead of your entire network. 

I recommend, in my book “Can I Borrow Your Car?” that you have a macro and micro strategy.  The macro strategy is used with lighter and more consistent touches and the micro is all about going deep with the most valuable and likely referral sources in your network:  your clients.

A good macro referral strategy is to begin a personal blog.  Writing and publishing content regularly is going to allow for a low pressure and consistent way for your entire network to (a) remember you exist and (b) begin to draw closer to you through your content.

A good micro referral strategy is to call 5 clients/referral sources per week to find out how you can help them (not how you can ‘help them’ by buying your stuff).  This is where you will be deepening your relationships with these ‘Golden Geese’ to be able to be top of mind and ever present with them.  

If you get anything from this newsletter (I certainly hope you do!) I hope that you are more confident about what you can do to improve in the near and distant future. I get to work with other successful professionals like you every day and am blessed beyond measure as a result. You are capable of more AND you are able to enjoy the process of working towards it as well.  

Please consider getting a copy of my newest book if you want to begin the process of getting predictable referrals.  You can get a copy through Amazon, or at my website

You can have success and a life that is full of joy. You do need to do some work to make that happen and to keep your life aligned (throw out that trash talk of work life balance…complete and utter nonsense).

  • What makes you most alive?
  • What really matters to you?
  • Why aren’t you doing that as much as possible?

Those three questions are 100% relevant to getting predictable referrals. This is because when you are the most alive…you are the most referrable. People want to introduce people that are enjoying their lives, especially financial advisors, to other people. Your BMW or Porsche isn’t going to make them want to refer you, but your passion for life will do nicely. 

Related: Do You Really Know Who Your 'Best'​ Clients Are?!?