How To Make Sure You Don’t Get Too Many of the Wrong Referrals

Believe it or not, the number one concern that successful #financialadvisors voice to me in person and online when it comes to referrals is this: what if I get too many?

I literally had this conversation with a newer client, a very successful advisor in the Mid Atlantic, USA, and walked him through that fear into excitement about being able to change his life through the right kinds of referrals.

Let’s start with how to deal with the problem:  ‘bad referrals’ and having too many of them to follow up on.

This is almost always a result of two things:

  1. Passive #referral language and systems (I have written about this and call it ‘Chicken Little Marketing’). (this is a bad thing)
  2. Having a great reputation and clients that love you. (this is a good thing).

Passive referral language and systems are bad for many reasons.  Here are a few of the reasons why:

  1. They are ‘macro’ in application.  This is where you are telling your clients (all your clients) and everyone else you meet that you love referrals without being specific about exactly what you are looking for.  When combined with a great reputation it will often inevitably lead to you getting tons of referrals that you aren’t prepared to handle effectively…and cause you to have stress and anxiety.
  2. They don’t teach your best referral sources (we call them Golden Geese) to give you exactly what you want because they are never told, by name and company, exactly WHO and WHY you want to be introduced to.  (Hint:  ask for people that exist…not demographics).
  3. You can’t predict when they will occur because you are not involved in the process until the referral conversation has already occurred.

I think that the benefits of a great reputation don’t need a lot of discussion.  However, here is why IF you have one…you need to be more strategic and prescriptive with your #referral system: 

You are going to get more referrals and if they suck it is all your fault from this point forward  

If you don’t design your referral system (literally how you can get 100% of the business you need predictably) to deliver you exactly who you want to meet, you are signing off (passively) on a result you cannot predict and that we can confidently expect to cause problems sooner rather than later.

I love working with successful advisors that run their own business.  They possess the resources financially and have the experience to shift to a new business model that can deliver both continued success AND a meaningful life.  The key to it is that you must become proactive and prescriptive about WHAT you really WANT.

Unless you are a psychopath and love marketing automation and hours of social media based spamming…you love referrals. 

Here is how you can start working on a new plan for your best business and life:

  1. Focus on less people when it comes to your referral efforts.  Who are the clients and other professionals that have referred you (successful or not) in the past?  This is who you will be spending 90% of your referral system on as they are a proven commodity.
  2. Change from passive language to prescriptive.  No more will you say things like “Anyone that is close to retirement is a good referral for me.”  Instead, you will ask your referral sources if they know “X Person by name” and then you will ask if they are comfortable having a conversation about you being introduced to them.  Note:  first we ask if they know and then we ask if they are comfortable talking about making the introduction.  Do not make this an obligation for your referral source…that is not fun for them and you.
  3. Have more conversations (period) with your clients.  This is where the Giving part of my referral system comes into play and makes more conversations effortless and productive.  Remember, it is all about getting enough introductions consistently to your ideal prospects at any level.  

Don’t ever discount the value of a social introduction that will make a first appointment much more productive a month or more later!

What will happen?  Great things.  You will no longer be afraid of getting too many referrals (the wrong ones that is) and you will instead be energized at having conversations with the clients and referrals sources you love the most.  You will know that you are working a system that is guaranteed to work for you if you just do what is most fun:  be 100% by referral.

I get what it's like to be a business owner and a financial advisor at the same time.  The process can be incredibly lucrative, and often quite overwhelming.  You don’t have to make great money and be miserable inside.  The first step is to imagine something different and then find a path to that vision that you believe will work. 

Related: Financial Advisors: Do You Own a Business or a Job?