One of the most fruitful ways to build your financial advisory practice is through word-of-mouth referrals. When prospects learn about your firm from people they trust, there’s built-in rapport and instant validation from the very beginning.
But, like most advisors, you probably struggle with knowing when and how to ask for these referrals without feeling awkward. Or, you may be so focused on advising your clients, you’re not being proactive about growing your practice.
Fortunately, we have three ways to easily boost your referral opportunities and position yourself to meet new prospects.
Create Opportunities for a +1.
It’s likely that your clients run in circles with others who have similar means and financial management needs. Next time you host a client event, be sure to encourage your clients to invite a guest (or two) along.
Perhaps you’re hosting a market update seminar in the private room of a local restaurant, or taking clients to a ball game to cheer for the local minor league team.
No matter the event, include some brief verbiage in the invitation that welcomes your clients to invite a friend, family member or colleague to join them. That’s a soft and welcoming way to open the door without putting clients on the spot.
As the RSVPs roll in, take note of guests that will be attending with clients and spend time introducing yourself at the event.
Naturally, you don’t want to force a conversation about their finances, but simply let them know you appreciate them coming and that you’d always be happy to help them in the future.
Community or charitable activities are heartwarming opportunities to interact with clients (and their friends) without the topic of finance even entering the conversation. Whether you’re simply supporting a cause in your town or engaging with a non-profit that’s doing good, you’re showing you care.
And if you have the chance to choose causes or charities that are close to your clients, that will further resonate and sow the seeds of goodwill. In client meetings, listen for these opportunities to discover their passions and causes.
Actively participate in volunteering events, sponsorship opportunities or annual dinners to connect your firm in a meaningful way and have a positive impact on the cause. The warm feelings this engenders with clients and others involved with that organization will make sure you’re the one they mention whenever the topic of finance does arise.
Enter Strategic Partnerships
When dealing with business matters for clients, you probably have a trusted network of accountants, lawyers, insurance agents and other business providers you point clients toward when needed. Those business partners may reciprocate and send the occasional lead your way, too.
But have you ever considered entering into a more formal and proactive referral program with any of these contacts?
First, set up a meeting and explore ways to help each other grow your business and generate referrals.
Encourage them to be purposeful about finding natural spots in any client conversation to share your name and expertise. Discuss the typical pain points that fall under your area of expertise. Whenever those arise in a meeting, that’s the perfect moment for them to make the connection!
Set reasonable goals of how many leads you both aim to share for the next quarter, and set a follow-up meeting to measure if one or both of you accomplished the task. If you haven’t seen a lead within the first month, don’t hesitate to follow up and stay top-of-mind with these strategic partners.
It’s important to acknowledge every referral you receive. Take a moment to write a handwritten thank you note and express your appreciation for this kind gesture that positively impacts your practice. Some advisors even send a gift basket or other gift as their way of saying thanks.
With these three tips, we’ve made it easier for you to improve your referral-generating opportunities. Rather than waiting on referrals to arrive at your door step, you’re now equipped with three clear ways to proactively bring in new prospects.
PS. We love referrals, too! If you know an advisor who’s struggling in their business and needs help turning their practice around, please share our website with them or contact us. We’re always here to help.