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How to Let Your Clients Know You’re ‘Open for Business’

You can’t expect clients to be on the lookout for people you can help if you don’t take the time to educate them first.

How can you expect clients to refer if they don’t know your capacity to add new relationships or the types of clients you best serve? Having these types of conversations with clients can increase both the frequency and quality of unsolicited referrals.

To be clear, this is not asking for referrals. Instead, it’s a conversation to help clients identify opportunities in the future. It’s educating them on the inner-workings of your business and your Ideal Client Profile (ICP).

Here’s how it works:

  1. Capacity: When clients know the vision you have for your business, the roles and responsibilities of your team members, and the time that you have to service new clients, they have more confidence in recommending you to friends and family. Why? They know you have the capacity to provide high-quality service. Having this type of conversation lets clients know that you are “open for business.” We’ll share an example with you in a moment.
  2. Ideal Client Profile: It’s reasonable to assume that most clients are unable to describe the ideal client profile (ICP) of their financial advisor. Think about it. Do your clients know the life events, occupation, age, personality, company, complexity of financial goals and any other characteristics of which your ICP is comprised? Teaching clients your ICP instills confidence in recommending you — they learn the type of person for whom your skills and services are designed.    

Here’s how you could have a conversation about both your capacity and your ideal client profile. In this example, a new team member was recently added to your group. 

“Our practice is growing and we’re excited about it. We’ve recently added Chris to the team and that should free up some internal capacity. As you know, the majority of the families we work with come from word-of-mouth. Currently we have the capacity to add a handful of new relationships, so think of us when [you describe ICP].”

Unsolicited Referrals & Understanding Advisor’s ICP

In our latest research study of 404 financial professionals from a variety of channels, we uncovered a correlation between unsolicited referrals and clients understanding their advisor’s ICP. We segmented our respondents based on unsolicited referrals received.

  • 19 percent were Generators: received 10+ referrals last year
  • 55 percent were Middlers: received 3 to 9 referrals last year
  • 22 percent were Laggards: received 2 or fewer referrals last year
    *4 percent were unsure

Generators felt like their clients understood their ICP. Understanding their financial advisor’s ICP serves as a natural qualifier, helping clients identify ideal referrals in terms of occupation, life stage, or other qualifiers. Want a copy of the full word-of-mouth report? You can get immediate access here.

Make no mistake about it, this is your responsibility. You can’t expect clients to be on the lookout for people you can help, if you don’t take the time to educate them first.  

@StephenBoswell is President of The Oechsli Institute and author of Best Practices of Elite Advisors@KevinANichols is the Chief Operating Officer for The Oechsli Institute and author of The Indispensable LinkedIn Sales Guide for Financial Advisors.

TAGS: Prospecting
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