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8 Ways Financial Advisors Can Boost Client Referrals

8. Create a script. 8. Create a script.

8. Create a script.


It will be easier to approach clients when you already know what you’re going to say. Your script should include a description of who your ideal client is, says Anderson. “Let people know what type of financial issues you specialize in to give them a better idea of who to recommend,” he said.

If you’ve provided your clients with excellent service, the largest error you can make is not asking for a reference. “This is the biggest blunder I see,” says Roame. “When Tiburon interviews clients, they often say that they would refer clients but that their financial advisor never asks. Financial advisors need to ask.”

7. Keep detailed records about your clients and their friends. 7. Keep detailed records about your clients and their friends.

7. Keep detailed records about your clients and their friends.


Ask lots of open-ended questions, says Anderson. “It can start with a simple question, like ‘What are you doing for Labor Day?’ and if your clients talk about their relatives or friends, note that in the back of your head,” he says. “Noting who your clients spend time with and having a name to suggest could be useful if they need help thinking of someone for that introduction.”

6. Don’t let clients forget about the referral. 6. Don’t let clients forget about the referral.

6. Don’t let clients forget about the referral.


Remind your clients that you are interested in growing your business in newsletters, business cards and your website. “This allows one’s clients to go through their life remembering your need as they meet people in the course of their life,” says Roame.

5. Take advantage of LinkedIn. 5. Take advantage of LinkedIn.

5. Take advantage of LinkedIn.


The social networking site’s “People You May Know” tool is an excellent way for advisors to find potential prospects who are connected to your clients, says Anderson. Simply log on to LinkedIn and scroll through the “People You May Know” box to the right of your user page. “Of course, don’t contact someone until you have your client’s permission,” he added.

4. Consider offering incentives. 4. Consider offering incentives.

4. Consider offering incentives.


Giving a discount for future services or a gift certificate to clients are common ways of saying thank you. However, not everyone agrees with advertising a referral program. “I would send a small gift afterwards, like a restaurant coupon,” says Charles “Chip” Roame, managing partner at Tiburon Strategic Advisors. “That way, those clients who refer me know they were thanked [without informing other clients]. I think blatant upfront referrals are a turn-off to some people.”

3. Set a target. 3. Set a target.

3. Set a target.


It's important to set a monthly referral target to motivate yourself and keep track of your results. The ideal number depends on each advisor, says Anderson. “A good rule of thumb is to choose the number of clients you want and then double it,” he says. “It’s unlikely that every referral will turn into a new client, so this increases your chances of reaching your goal.”

2. Be conscious of timing. 2. Be conscious of timing.

2. Be conscious of timing.


If you’re doing your job and meeting your client’s needs, don’t hesitate to mention that you would like to expand your client base. The unstable market provides an easy way to bring up your services, Anderson says. “All the uncertainty in today’s volatile market makes this the perfect time to ask your clients if there’s anyone else you can help.”

1. Think of it as an introduction -- not a sales pitch. 1. Think of it as an introduction -- not a sales pitch.

1. Think of it as an introduction -- not a sales pitch.


Focus on building a relationship with the prospective client first. “Let your client know you are interested in meeting other people whom you can help, perhaps over coffee or an introductory meeting, and get to know them [before launching into your business],” Anderson says.

8 Ways Financial Advisors Can Boost Client Referrals 8 Ways Financial Advisors Can Boost Client Referrals

8 Ways Financial Advisors Can Boost Client Referrals


It’s no secret that client referrals are essential to an advisor’s growth. The hard part is implementing an effective strategy. Indeed, only one in five financial advisors say that seeking a referral is a “regular routine and a key reason for my success,” according to a recent SEI survey. Moreover, nearly half say they’ve asked just a “small percentage” of their clients for a referral.

John Anderson, head of Practice Management Solutions for the SEI Advisor Network, says he was only partly surprised by the survey’s findings. “Asking a client to refer you to someone can be uncomfortable and if you often hear ‘I don’t have anyone in mind right now’ or ‘I’ll let you know’ it’s easy to get discouraged.” Too often, advisors rely on passive, or unsolicited, referrals from clients.”

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