This is a much more productive question to answer for financial advisors. Usually referral questions devolve into a conversation/confrontation about ‘asking’ for #referrals. Whether you should or you shouldn’t, how often and how…
None of those questions is truly valuable if you don’t have the foundation set. The real question to answer is in the title. Why don’t your clients refer more business to you? Keep reading to find why.
Do you know?
There is only one way you can answer yes: ask your clients. Have you asked your clients why they don’t refer you more business? I bet you don’t. It is a pretty scary question to ask a great client, isn’t it?!?
Good news: we don’t start there
Better news: we start with you
Here are some things to focus your inner reflection on the question:
One of the reasons they don’t refer more is because they don’t remember you when they are in front of prospective clients for you.
- There has been a lot of training and writing on how to get clients to remember you more. Some of it is worthwhile and some of it is not. Basically, spending a lot of time ‘training’ your clients to find prospects for you is as productive as hiring brand new salespeople and training them. If you are fortunate, it takes between 1-2 years to properly onboard and train a full time salesperson. You don’t have that kind of time so this is a terrible idea as an overall strategy.
- You need to take the obligation to remember you off the table.
Another reason is because they are uncomfortable introducing you.
- See above. If they have to take the time and energy to figure who to introduce you to, they are less likely to be willing to take the energy to follow through. Reduce this friction and increase referrals.
- They might have a concern about how you will handle the referral. Do they know that you will bring back the ‘car’ safely to their garage without scratches and dings?
- Do your clients know that you are willing to have very low friction, socially focused, meetings with new people without closing for an appointment to pitch what you do?
They aren’t sure if you want to meet the person they know.
- This is a big one. Since your clients aren’t working for you they often are unsure of exactly who you want to meet. Take this off the table by being a professional and doing the research yourself. You need to know, in advance, exactly who you want to meet that your clients know and you also need to be having the types of conversations that will reveal new potential introductions in normal meetings.
- Don’t forget to look beyond immediate ideal client referrals to potential Golden Geese ie Centers of Influence. Sometimes, you can make more money over the long term by finding more of these types of referral centers than individual clients.
I have written about this before and it's worth doing so again.
You need to be able to answer the following three questions, both yourself and with clients, if you want to begin to tap into the immense power of referrals for you at every stage of your financial services career:
- Why should I meet with you?
- Why should I listen to you?
- Why should I believe you?
So often, we never explicitly realize that these questions are at the heart of all sales and marketing. If we are only looking for people that are buying in the moment, we are deciding to be a prisoner of that same moment. Instead, identify who will be ideal clients and then look to get introduced to them as easily as possible. You will be amazed at what happens, how effortless and predictable referrals become, when you have keep focusing on meeting (socially) ideal clients before they are buying.
The great news about meeting consistently, on a social basis at a minimum, with ideal prospects is this: some of them will be in the market to switch and because you met them without a high pressure pitch scenario…they will likely choose you (if you have good answers to the three questions above).
What would it be like if you met with and had good experiences with 100 ideal clients over the next year or two?
What would naturally happen if you built on those meetings strategically and naturally? Referrals, just like anything else really worth it, take time and discipline. Don’t let your social media brain short circuit the real process for meeting new prospects. Remember, referrals have been around for thousands of years and they are still the best way to grow your #wealthmanagement and #financialplanning business.
If you get anything from this (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.
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.
Get out there and live. If you are stuck and not sure where to start, reach out and let’s talk.
Related: Should I Go All in on Referrals?