What is more important to you?   More referrals?  Or higher quality clients from referrals?  Or both? Here are a few simple things to keep in mind if you’d like to get better quality clients from referrals.

Get Clear

What type of client do you want to attract into your business?  Are you crystal clear?  Can you write it down right now, on the spot?  Clear intentions produce clear results. Fuzzy intentions produce fuzzy results. You will be amazed at how much easier it becomes the right kind of clients into your business when you are crystal clear what comprises an ideal client.

Share Your Clarity

Are your clients and centers of influence as clear as you are as to who fits your business?  If you’re not clear, how can you expect them to be?  If you are getting the wrong kind of referrals, then you have some teaching to do.

Stop Taking the Wrong Clients

When you spend time catching and serving (sounds like fishing) the wrong kind of clients for your business model, then you don’t have the time to catch and serve the right kind of clients.  It should always be a win-win situation.  Never assume a referral prospect is the right match for you. Always qualify – with your referral sources or the prospects themselves.

CPA Relationships

The only way to get to meet many top-level prospects is through their CPA. In many cases, the CPA is the financial quarterback in that prospect’s life.  It’s critical that you develop several quality referral relationships with CPAs and similar centers of influence The key ingredient to getting referrals from CPAs is to be referable. CPAs are risk averse and they don’t give referrals easily. They have to truly get to know you and the work you do before they’ll refer people to you. Don’t go for referrals too quickly with CPAs you meet. First try to serve them and their practice. And, of course, the best way to meet CPAs is through referrals from your existing clients.

Asking for Referrals vs. Referral Events

Without question, there are many top-level prospects who are just not prepared to make their first meeting with you a business meeting.  They want to meet you in a low-key social setting.  They want to get to know you first.  They want to see if they “like you” and can “trust you.”  It’s usually not a logical thing.  They don’t want their first meeting to be about them bringing all their financial statements and baring their financial soul to you.  This is why it’s important to sponsor several referral events every year.

Some clients will play the traditional referral game; you ask for referrals, they give you referrals. Many others would prefer the social introduction path.  I recommend you have both strategies as part of your marketing plan for 2013.

Bill Cates is the author of Get More Referrals Now! and Don’t Keep Me a Secret!  His new book, Beyond Referrals, will be released by McGraw-Hill in April. To receive Bill’s complimentary newsletter and to learn more about how he might help you acquire more and better clients through referrals, go to www.ReferralCoach.com.


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