Going the extra mile for clients can result in increased referrals.
Take Chris Dardaman, a certified financial planner and the co-founder and wealth advisor at Brightworth in Atlanta, who often reviews a client’s tax situation during meetings.
“I’ve discovered a loss carryforward that was overlooked, and I’ve helped a client coming back to the U.S. from abroad decide to sell appreciated stocks before establishing residence in a state with an income tax. These inputs have saved thousands of dollars in tax, delighted clients and led to valuable referrals,” says Dardaman, who is a certified public accountant.
“For asset management clients, we download their credit reports annually to ensure they are in good standing,” says Natalie Colley, an analyst at Francis Financial in New York. “For clients going through a divorce, we offer to cover the cost of their first session with a professional divorce coach.”
For all clients, the firm hosts several events throughout the year at the home of Stacy Francis, president and chief executive.
“We invite them to bring guests, which can include their children, co-workers or siblings,” Colley says. “We provide a babysitter and an entertainer to keep the children occupied while the adults can enjoy a relaxing evening.”
The firm also hosts “more individualized” events for selected clients, Colley says.
“For example, we recently hosted a financial fitness night at a client’s loft for the client and her friends,” she says. “Our client was thrilled that we helped people who are very important to her, and she has referred multiple clients to us since then, and that’s beside the leads that were generated from those who attended.”
FAMILY AND FRIENDS
Helping people who are important to clients is also key for Christopher J. Cordaro, a certified financial planner and the chief investment officer, RegentAtlantic Capital in Morristown, N.J.
“We tell our existing clients that we’ll provide free services to someone they care about,” he says.
For the client’s family or friends, RegentAtlantic Capital offers a retirement analysis on MoneyGuidePro, a second opinion on their investment portfolio or a customized Social Security strategy.
“Generally, we provide just one of these services, because that’s the one that is the ‘spear in the prospect’s chest.’ Show people that you can remove the spear for them, and they will most likely become clients,” Cordaro says.
“Suppose we just did a retirement analysis for a client who received a ‘package’ at work,” he says.
“The client might say, ‘Wow, that was awesome. Now I feel great about accepting the package,’” Cordaro says.
“Then we have a fat pitch to ask for a referral: ‘Mr. or Ms. Client, do you have friends at work who are also getting this early retirement offer? We’d be happy to help them determine if it is appropriate for them, without any cost,’” Cordaro says.
“This approach has yielded many referrals,” he says. “If we can’t earn prospects’ confidence by demonstrating what we do best, then we don’t deserve them as clients.”
Donald Jay Korn is a New York-based financial writer who contributes to Financial Planning and On Wall Street.
This story is part of a 30-day series on how to generate the best referrals.