Referral System

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Mar 18, 2009 11:32 pm

I could use a little perspective here. 

My can sell date is October of 2007.  I came out swinging with a handful of financials , munis and a whole lot of G&I mutual funds.  As you can guess, most my recommendations have been lambasted.  I keep track of my daily activity...pitches, asks for appointments, money dues and referrals.  Every week my attempts at referrals is pathetic. It's totally mental at this point. I am realistic, but was hoping to benefit from the occasional "Mike Smith gave me your name and said I should call" at this point. 

Question is...Do I keep plugging away, providing excellent service and believe that referrals will come in time?  OR, do I suck it up and in the face of no real track record of success for some of my clients ask anyway? 

If anyone has a good referral system in place or some smooth phrasing, it would be much appreciated.
 


Mar 19, 2009 12:17 am

I have a friend who runs a fee based business, that discounts the clients account 5bps for every referral that becomes a client(he has a $150K minimum).  He says it gives his clients incentive to give referral and good ones..

Mar 19, 2009 12:18 am

Are you ASKING for referrals?

 
"Aside from the general economic conditions going on right now, how do you feel about the work we've done together?"
 
"I feel good!"
 
"Thank you, but I wasn't merely asking for a compliment.  How have you particularly benefitted from the work we've done?"
 
[let them tell you what a great job you've done for them.]
 
"Great!  I'm really happy to hear that.  Thank you.  The reason I'm asking is because I'd like to meet more people just like yourself who can benefit from the kind of work we've done.  I'd like you to think of some people that you know could benefit from working with me that you feel comfortable recommending that we get together."
 
"Who do you know..."
Mar 19, 2009 5:55 am

"Question is...Do I keep plugging away, providing excellent service and believe that referrals will come in time?  OR, do I suck it up and in the face of no real track record of success for some of my clients ask anyway? "

 
The referrals won't come ever.  They'll be some exceptions to this, but if you are just waiting for your phone to ring, in general, you won't get them.
 
Are you keeping track of your "asks for referrals"?  If you are, you'll find that you aren't getting any because you aren't asking for any. 
 
If you want referrals, be proactive and not reactive.   Start getting referrals from people before they become your client. 
Mar 19, 2009 2:23 pm

I've used that bidness card idea in a different industry. Didn't get too much from it...1 or 2 referrals a year. The approach that Ominous and anonymous mentioned are much more effective in my view. I never really felt comfortable asking for referrals from prospects unless I had just an overwhelmingly positive rapport with them, but I always asked current clients for referrals. It was a lot like Ominous' suggestion...casually move the conversation to discussing positives about the relationship, then ask "who else could use my help..." or something similar. The key is to do it every single time. You never know when their son, daughter, neighbor, coworker or whatever just spoke to them about their needs. Again, this comes from experience in a different industry, but it'll probably work just as well here.


Sales is sales.
Mar 19, 2009 6:52 pm

Some good thoughts here guys...thanks.  I noticed today that I'm closing the communication with the client/prospect too soon.  I'm either pitching and closing or trying to find where the dollars are and when they're coming due...then, BAM, on to the next call.  I either need to tag it on to each call/contact/meeting like Fud suggested and make it a habit or make specific attempts for referrals like I do for product sales.  I like you're phrasing Ominous, I'll use it.  Ice...in this market, if cheesy works, you can call me Mr. Velveeta.  Thanks for your tip.  Good Selling.

Mar 19, 2009 8:43 pm

"Anonymous,

 
Could you elaborate on how you might get a referral before someone becomes your client?  Personally, if I were being pitched for insurance, investments, or to buy a car, and the guy was trying to shake me down for referrals before I even worked with him, I'd tell him to hit the road."
 
Me: "Ice, thanks for taking the time to meet with me today.   It does sound like we're a little premature to have a serious financial conversation.  I'll follow up with you later this summer....
 
Before I go, let me ask you about a couple of people in your firm that I will be calling.    How well do you know James Smith?"
 
Ice: "We are in the same department and do a lot of work together.  He just had another baby...."
 
Me: "What about Ty Lawson?"
 
Ice:  "Blah, blah, blah..."
 
Me:  "When I call James and Ty, is it ok that I tell them that you spoke highly of them?"
 
Ice: "Sure, that's fine."
 
 
Mar 20, 2009 8:54 pm

Remember, there's "magic" in that phrasing.

 
The "magic" is that THEY are reminding THEMSELVES about the value of working with you.
 
When they are sold themselves, they will be your advocates.
 
 
I didn't make this stuff up.  www.referralcoach.com
 
Mar 20, 2009 8:56 pm

Q: On the rebate for a referral idea: Do you disclose that on your ADVII? Seems kind of tacky to me...like collecting reward points? Maybe throw in a free trip to Tijuana intead?

Mar 31, 2009 3:21 pm
TheBigE:

I could use a little perspective here. 

My can sell date is October of 2007.  I came out swinging with a handful of financials , munis and a whole lot of G&I mutual funds.  As you can guess, most my recommendations have been lambasted.  I keep track of my daily activity...pitches, asks for appointments, money dues and referrals.  Every week my attempts at referrals is pathetic. It's totally mental at this point. I am realistic, but was hoping to benefit from the occasional "Mike Smith gave me your name and said I should call" at this point. 

Question is...Do I keep plugging away, providing excellent service and believe that referrals will come in time?  OR, do I suck it up and in the face of no real track record of success for some of my clients ask anyway? 

If anyone has a good referral system in place or some smooth phrasing, it would be much appreciated.
 


 
A good referral system I used while I was selling insurance was based on Bill Bachrach's method, "Values Based Financial Planning".  There is a whole process that leads up to asking for the referral but it goes like this:
 
-After they sign all the paperwork and implement whatever recommendations you make, you start with this:
 
Advisor: "Mr and Mrs. So and So, you have done what most Americans fail to do.  You've committed to a financial plan to help you achieve your life goals and dreams and now you're implementing a strategy to help you get there.  How does that make you feel?"
 
Client: "It feels great; finally feel like we have a cohesive plan in place and we can finally see an endstate".
 
Advisor: "What else did you find valuable"?
 
Client: "I loved how you were upfront with us and we learned a lot of things we never knew before".
 
Advisor: "Well, I'm glad you found our time valuable.  As you may or may not know, as a financial professional, I spend a great deal of my time prospecting and marketing for new clients.  The time I spend marketing for clients, that's less time I can spend being a resource for my clients, looking after their assets and learning more about my profession.  So as my newest clients, how would you rather I spend my time? Looking after your money and being aware about the issues that can affect your money or prospecting and marketing for new clients?"
 
Client: (DUH) "Looking after my money, of course".
 
Advisor: "And of course, most of my clients answered just as you did. So for me to give you the time and energy that you want and deserve, I need you to introduce me to people who are just like you. (Describe your ideal client profile)  Now, all I'm asking is for is an introduction to see if there's a reason to do business.  If there is, that would be great. If there isn't, that would be fine as well.  Now, who of your co-workers (family, civic club, etc) do you think would be a good fit for my practice? "
 
I got 8 referrals one time from a client, so it works.  It boils down to the conviction in your voice and you have to ask.  It's not going to work on everybody and you truly have to believe that it's in THEIR BEST interest to give your referrals and it really is.  If you're spending 10-20 hours a week cold calling, conducting seminars etc., isn't that time better spent studying for the CFP, CFA, etc.? Another technique is Bill Cates method; type in his name and you'll find a whole bunch of stuff. 
 
I was talking to a buddy from UBS and I told him about what I do and he said what I did was "brash", while he was cold calling.  I said hey man, cold calling is brash (even though I do that as well). 
 
I hope that helped. 
Mar 31, 2009 3:23 pm

I just realized someone already mentioned Bill Cates, the Referral Coach.  He is awesome. 

Mar 31, 2009 3:33 pm

I think Bachrach like most coaches, are frauds.. They provide no real substance just philosophical BS.

 
He uses fancy words to say "Hey I don't want to look for money anymore and if you want your assets to be carefully watched you better start sending me people"
 
When the reality is any adivsor who says that is full of crap.
Mar 31, 2009 3:36 pm

 If you're spending 10-20 hours a week cold calling, conducting seminars etc., isn't that time better spent studying for the CFP, CFA, etc.?

 
That is funny... and stupid...
CFA is useless in the world of advising..
CFP, not going to say useless but I don't see what the CFP will be able to do for you that you can't do on your own or can't figure out for yourself(it's not the equivalent of an MD).
 
Mar 31, 2009 3:40 pm
Squash1:

I think Bachrach like most coaches, are frauds.. They provide no real substance just philosophical BS.

 
He uses fancy words to say "Hey I don't want to look for money anymore and if you want your assets to be carefully watched you better start sending me people"
 
When the reality is any adivsor who says that is full of crap.
 
Everyone is entitled to their opinion.  Like I said, it's not for everybody.  He asked for different ideas and I gave him one.  If you have something better, by all means, go for it. 
 
I for one, do not do everything that Bachrach recommends.  I pick what I like and disregard what I don't.  To completely brush it off as a "fraud" is a pretty strong statement, considering if you actually read his book and look at his testimonials, he has testimonials from people in so many different organizations. 
 
I won't resort to personal attacks as you did. 
Mar 31, 2009 3:42 pm
Squash1:

 If you're spending 10-20 hours a week cold calling, conducting seminars etc., isn't that time better spent studying for the CFP, CFA, etc.?

 
That is funny... and stupid...
CFA is useless in the world of advising..
CFP, not going to say useless but I don't see what the CFP will be able to do for you that you can't do on your own or can't figure out for yourself(it's not the equivalent of an MD).
 
 
I was trying to make a point genius.  That was just one example on how if you weren't prospecting, you could be doing other things.  If you don't like what I'm writing, then ignore it.  Why waste your time bashing it?
Apr 1, 2009 9:20 pm

Army, thanks for your contribution.  I don't believe that script is one that I could pull off comfortably.  However, I have no doubt that if someone with the right delivery could use it with success as you have done.  Since my original post, I have come to one conclusion...that much like an alcoholic who realizes for the first time that he has a problem...just being aware that I wasn't asking has allowed me to make some adjustments in my contacts.  I'm asking for referrals from first contacts as well as existing clients.  I'm finding that I'm just as likely to pull a referral from either source. So far, my best referral since this post has come from a prospect and it will likely lead to a 450k rollover.  As to "what and how" I'm asking seems less relative at this point when compared to the fact that I'm actually...asking. 

Apr 1, 2009 11:02 pm
army13A:
 Advisor: "Well, I'm glad you found our time valuable.  As you may or may not know, as a financial professional, I spend a great deal of my time prospecting and marketing for new clients.  The time I spend marketing for clients, that's less time I can spend being a resource for my clients, looking after their assets and learning more about my profession.  So as my newest clients, how would you rather I spend my time? Looking after your money and being aware about the issues that can affect your money or prospecting and marketing for new clients?"
 



An affluent person would walk out the door and ACAT the account immediately if told that, IMO.

Apr 2, 2009 12:02 am

BigE,

You can try the old Jones trick. It didn't work for me, but there were some good 'ole boys at Jones that could pull it off. Put a $100 (whatever) bill on the back of you office door.  Always ask for a referral during the appointment. As you are leaving, the client will probably ask about it, and tell them that if you hadn't asked for a referral, you would have had to give them the bill.  That reinforces to the client the importance of referrals for your business.
Apr 2, 2009 12:08 am
etj4588:
army13A:
 Advisor: "Well, I'm glad you found our time valuable.  As you may or may not know, as a financial professional, I spend a great deal of my time prospecting and marketing for new clients.  The time I spend marketing for clients, that's less time I can spend being a resource for my clients, looking after their assets and learning more about my profession.  So as my newest clients, how would you rather I spend my time? Looking after your money and being aware about the issues that can affect your money or prospecting and marketing for new clients?"
 



An affluent person would walk out the door and ACAT the account immediately if told that, IMO.

 
I agree.  It sounds like you're NEEDY, SELFISH AND LAZY.
 
Here's a hint about referrals:  It's not about YOU.
Apr 2, 2009 9:14 am
now_indy:

BigE,

You can try the old Jones trick. It didn't work for me, but there were some good 'ole boys at Jones that could pull it off. Put a $100 (whatever) bill on the back of you office door.  Always ask for a referral during the appointment. As you are leaving, the client will probably ask about it, and tell them that if you hadn't asked for a referral, you would have had to give them the bill.  That reinforces to the client the importance of referrals for your business.
 
I've never heard of anyone actually DOING that.  That sounds more like myth than reality.