5 Reasons You Always Need a Beginners Mindset With Referrals

As many long time readers/followers will already know, I am slightly obsessed and passionate about #flyfishing and #referrals.  While these two areas of my life don’t always overlap, today’s blog is a perfect example of where they do.

My friend Jason Klass, one of the OG’s of tenkara fly fishing (no reel), recently was on the Fly Fishing Insider Podcast and was asked about his one big tip near the end of the podcast and he said “have a beginner’s mindset.”  I immediately made a note in my phone to write a blog about it as it pertains to high level referral production for financial advisors that want to be able to predict referral success on a long term basis.

When I think about a beginners mindset 5 things come to mind that are a part of it when it comes to referrals and are, without question, front and center with all the best clients and professionals I have worked with over the past three decades.

Here goes with the 5 reasons:

  1. Humility is vital in consistent referral production.  My most recent book is all about risk mitigation in the referral process whether you are the buyer, seller or referral source.  Humility will keep you disciplined with the small things and make sure you don’t make silly mistakes.
  2. Discipline is a key if you want to get past the ‘accidental’ referrals and into consistent, top of the funnel, production that allows you to not only fill your pipeline, but also provide for scaling your financial business from a ‘practice’ to a real business that you can sell for a ‘best in class’ multiple.  Discipline will drive/compel you to have a written communication plan for your referrals (giving or receiving) and will (partnered with humility) absolutely establish you as unique in your marketplace by how you handle referrals and the precious relationships that deliver them.
  3. Curiosity.  Seems pretty self explanatory that this is part of the beginners mindset?  Well, staying curious allows you to ask both a wider range of questions and then provides creative and insightful follow up questions.  That process then allows you to uncover hidden concerns and opportunities that you would never have noticed and in some cases killed referral potential.  I have seen this pay off exponentially with some of my clients because of a few more questions about a seemingly minor detail.
  4. Practice.  Beginners that want to excel understand they need to practice in order to (a) stay skilled and (b) progress in their knowledge and expertise working with different people.  An example of the power of practice is in one of the core ‘macro’ strategies from my book.  Every conversation you have with a client, COI and or vendor is a potential referral conversation and yet you don’t want to be perceived as a referral beggar do you?  Instead, practice letting everyone know that you ‘love referrals’ and use that at the beginning of your meetings to see if you can help them out first.
  5. Giving.  Reciprocity, tailored for each person you refer to, is easy when you are earlier in your career.  However, as we progress we tend to get locked into patterns of giving and miss opportunities to add referral partners/COI’s and to be continually pushing to have a more powerful and expert referral network.  Giving referrals, just like getting them, requires a system that is consistently executed and that includes planned activity.  If you want to GET referrals predictably, you need to be able to GIVE referrals predictably.

Do you still have a beginner’s mindset?  If so, great!  Work to stay in that vital place.  If not, do your own personal reset using the 5 reasons above and I guarantee you won’t regret it.

Related: Harnessing Recurring Events: Supercharging Referrals for Financial Advisors