Why Financial Advisors should Ask for Referrals
by Tim Healy
Why Financial Advisors Should Ask for Referrals
Why Financial Advisors should ask for referrals? Very simply – if you are a good financial advisor you have earned it. Financial Advisors have a great advantage over other sales people when it comes to asking for referrals. Sales people who are selling other products or services typically don’t have the opportunity to positively impact the lives of their clients and their client’s families the way that financial advisors do.
Building a larger client base should be a goal of every professional. Across every industry, referrals are the easiest and most cost-effective way to generate new business. However, if you are like many individuals, you may feel awkward asking your current clients for referrals. Figuring out the right way to request a referral will help you increase your reach.
Are you asking for referrals? If the answer is “no,” then you need to start asking yourself, “why not?”
Individuals of nearly all ages look for ways to manage their money more effectively. As a financial advisor, you have an unlimited number of potential clients at your reach – you just have to ask. If you are doing right by your current clients, you have more than earned these new connections.
10% of getting referrals is what you are saying and how you say it. 90% of getting referrals is SIMPLY ASKING!!!!
Why Aren’t You Asking for Referrals?
If you are not already asking your clients for referrals, you are missing out on valuable business opportunities. Why haven’t you asked for a referral yet? It has been my experience working with financial advisors that the Top Four Reasons you don’t ask are:
- You don’t feel you have earned a referral
- You don’t want to sound cheesy or “salesy”
- Not sure how to ask
- You don’t know when to ask
Let’s address each one.
#1: You Don’t Feel You Have Earned a Referral
Are you having doubts about asking your clients for potential referrals? Many professionals do not believe they have earned a referral, and they shy away from asking their clients for any connections.
The truth is, if you are already doing the right thing by your client, then you deserve a referral. Think about it – when financial advisors are doing their job properly, they are ensuring financial piece-of-mind and protection for their clients, their families, and their legacy now and through retirement. What’s more valuable than that?
#2: You Don’t Want to Sound Cheesy or Salesy
The great news is you DO NOT have to sound slick and polished when asking. You just need to be yourself. If you are being genuine it will NEVER sound cheesy. I will tell you what is cheesy. Handing your clients a piece of paper with 1-10 written on it and asking for the names, numbers, and email addresses for 10 of their closest family and friends is cheesy, and can send the wrong message. Definitely DO NOT ask this way.
#3: You Don’t Know How to Ask
There are many different ways to ask for a referral, and some are better than others. Knowing how to ask for a referral can help increase your potential for success. I will share three different ways of asking. The 1st will be more structured. The 2nd and 3rd are meant to be more conversational and relaxed. The key is to find the wording that you are comfortable using. If you aren’t it will never come across naturally.
“Bob, I want to know if I can ask you for a favor. I have built my business based on relationships like ours. I’ve always found it better to spend time helping clients like you instead of marketing for new business. So maybe you can help me. Bob can you make an introduction to someone you feel I can help.”
“If I could make a few suggestions of people who you know who may need help – (Pause – let them answer OK) Perhaps you have a family member or friend who recently retired. (Pause) Maybe there is a family member who just got married, had a child or whose parent passed away. And sometimes it could be a friend or family member who just sold a business. Who do you know who comes to mind?”
The key part of this technique is that you set the table and made specific suggestions. If you only ask a general question like, “do you know someone?” your client will almost always draw a blank and respond with, “Let me think about it.”
You have to be specific when mentioning a life scenario that could benefit from your help. This strategy will greatly increase the likelihood that a face and name will pop into their mind.
Ask for The Setup
Here is another key. When they have a name of someone they think you can help ask for “The Setup”. The Setup is simply asking if they wouldn’t mind sending an email letting the person know you will be calling and that they recommend they take your call. It is an extra step – but if you have a strong relationship with your client they won’t mind. It builds a lot of credibility in the eyes of the person referred.
The previous was a more structured approach. I also like to remind financial advisors to let their clients know that they are open for business. It is no secret that your business is like all others and you want to grow. So let them know. Here are two examples you can have fun with:
You can tell them when they are happy with their account performance or when they just share a story that involves a family member or friend.
You can ask for a referral when your client is happy.
Client: Thanks Bob, it is great to see my accounts growing like this.
Financial Advisor: My pleasure – it is great to see you happy. You know I am open for business – which family member would you like to see as financially happy as you?”
You can ask for a referral when a client talks about family member or friend:
Client: Bob, my wife and I are excited for our son Jimmy – he just got a big promotion.
Financial Advisor: That is great news – congratulations to him. Tell me about the promotion… (Let the client tell the story. They are obviously proud. Take notes.)
You know I am always here to help YOU and YOUR FAMILY – I have a suggestion – let me know if it makes sense. I would like to offer to sit down with Jimmy to see how he is preparing for his bright future?” Make sense?
#4 You don’t know when to ask
There is nothing complicated about when to ask for a referral. Here are a few key scenarios to be aware of:
- After a review
- After a service call
- Whenever a client compliments you and your service
- Any time they bring up a family member or friend
- Anytime they are happy with performance
Ninety percent of getting referrals is ASKING. Start by always being confident in the value you have given to your clients. Most clients who appreciate what you have done for them will not mind giving you a referral. Just ask!
The Referral Takeaway
When it comes to asking for referrals, always remember that you have earned these connections. The work you do as a financial advisor has a tremendous lifelong impact on your clients and their families. If you talk yourself out of asking, you are missing out on unlimited business opportunities. There is someone out there who could really use your help!
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