Most advisers accept referrals are one of the most effective methods of growing their business yet many still struggle to ask for and/or get good quality referrals. Furthermore, few include a structured referral generating process as part of their day-to-day marketing activity. Amazingly, some advisers just never ask and are leaving revenue on the table and their business growing more slowly than it otherwise might.
It’s important to remember that clients are putting their reputation/relationship on the line by referring their family, friends and peers to you, so you absolutely have to deliver. Here are 5 ideas to consider to obtain more good quality referrals.
1. Ask your best clients
Clients tend to refer people like themselves and will tend to “refer down or across” but seldom “refer up”. So, to ensure you get the right quality and type of referral, look to those top end clients that you most enjoy working with.
2. Know when to ask
Asking too early in the relationship can be a complete turn off. Remember the earlier point about putting their relationship on the line. You have to have earned the right to ask! The best time to ask is when you know that clients are happy with your work, such as when they provide positive feedback.
3. Know how to ask
You don’t have to go straight for the jugular. There are many subtle, sensitive and professional ways to kick off the referral conversation. Something along the lines of “Which elements of our service do find the most valuable?” Or, “You’ve been a loyal client for a long time now, why have you stayed with us/me all this time?”
4. Make it a habit
Build time into your client review meetings for referral discussions and don’t fudge it. Include appropriate text in your email signatures or your newsletters to make sure clients can see that you welcome referrals.
5. Help them to refer!
Help clients to help you by providing guidance on how they might frame conversations with others about a referral. A “script” that explains what you do and how best to refer you helps to make the process more like a friendly introduction rather than a huge commitment.
For many advisers the whole subject of referrals seems to have some sort of mysticism about it, as though those who are successful at getting referrals possess some sort of hidden gift or talent that is illusive to mere mortals. Sure, confidence plays a part but as the old adage goes… if you don’t ask, you don’t get.
What are your most effective referral tips?