Referrals

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Dec 8, 2008 1:29 pm

What are some of the successful ways everyone uses to get referrals from clients?


As this can be a touchy subject, as many clients don't like to be asked outright, how are those of you that are successful at it broaching the subject?
 
 
Dec 8, 2008 2:34 pm

Why wait until they are clients to get referrals from them?

Dec 8, 2008 3:44 pm

True... I could just walk up to random people on the street and ask...

 
 
Dec 8, 2008 6:38 pm

Do you value your time?

Dec 8, 2008 7:55 pm

Rather than giving the canned answer that every BOM or VP of every office gives to a question like that ("All you have to do is ask".  "Why wait until they are a client to ask?") that makes us cringe and want to punch a wall, I'll try to give a thoughtful response to this legitimate concern.  Example:  Client A has been your client for 3 years.  They are down 30% YTD in their portfolio with you.  They feel bad enough that they've lost 30% themselves, that they may be hesitant to refer you to a friend who may end up in the same position that they are in a couple of years.  Fair? 


Do we value our time?  Hell yeah we do.  Do we think we put our clients in a better position than they would be without us?  Hell yeah we do.  Do some of our clients possibly have doubts about the latter from time to time, ESPECIALLY when they looked at their November statement?  Hell yeah some do.  Sometimes some advisors have to stop acting so freaking cocky and actually realize that people aren't going to keel over and give us lists of names just by doing the same retarded referral script all the time.  Clients want to be impressed.  This past quarter we've done about 3-4 client bring a friends at a private club in our town with about 20-30 attendees at each one, probably a 3-2 client to prospect/buying unit ratio.  Provide wine and some hors d'eorves.  Just get some wholesaler support and if you've built a decent relationship with them, you can get at least half of the event funded by them.  Do a 15-20 minute seminar for them about the market or end-of-year tax strategies, so you can show the prospects that you know something. 
 
This type of thing will cost a couple bucks, but not only will your clients be impressed, the prospects will be more impressed and be more likely to refer THEIR friends/co-workers as well.  Its also a hell of a lot of fun.  Kudos to you for wanting to think outside the box and not do the same thing every discount broker is taught to do.
Dec 8, 2008 9:10 pm
3rdyrp2:

Rather than giving the canned answer that every BOM or VP of every office gives to a question like that ("All you have to do is ask".  "Why wait until they are a client to ask?") that makes us cringe and want to punch a wall, I'll try to give a thoughtful response to this legitimate concern.  Example:  Client A has been your client for 3 years.  They are down 30% YTD in their portfolio with you.  They feel bad enough that they've lost 30% themselves, that they may be hesitant to refer you to a friend who may end up in the same position that they are in a couple of years.  Fair? 

Do we value our time?  Hell yeah we do.  Do we think we put our clients in a better position than they would be without us?  Hell yeah we do.  Do some of our clients possibly have doubts about the latter from time to time, ESPECIALLY when they looked at their November statement?  Hell yeah some do.  Sometimes some advisors have to stop acting so freaking cocky and actually realize that people aren't going to keel over and give us lists of names just by doing the same retarded referral script all the time.  Clients want to be impressed.  This past quarter we've done about 3-4 client bring a friends at a private club in our town with about 20-30 attendees at each one, probably a 3-2 client to prospect/buying unit ratio.  Provide wine and some hors d'eorves.  Just get some wholesaler support and if you've built a decent relationship with them, you can get at least half of the event funded by them.  Do a 15-20 minute seminar for them about the market or end-of-year tax strategies, so you can show the prospects that you know something. 
 
This type of thing will cost a couple bucks, but not only will your clients be impressed, the prospects will be more impressed and be more likely to refer THEIR friends/co-workers as well.  Its also a hell of a lot of fun.  Kudos to you for wanting to think outside the box and not do the same thing every discount broker is taught to do.


Excellent, and thoughtful, response.
Can you talk about your follow up process after an event like this?>
How do you load your clients friends into your pipeline without making your client feel uncomfortable?

Dec 8, 2008 9:39 pm

On the comment cards we give each person, there's a box prospects can check if they want to meet up.  Clients like it because there's an option on there where clients check if they'd like to attend another seminar/event and write in a topic.  We can use whatever financial topic they write in as the basis for our next meeting.  We have a raffle at the event.  All an attendee has to do is write down the name of a referral and their comment card is put in a hat and drawn to win a starbucks gift card, borders gift card and something else we choose.  Over the next couple of days we'll follow up with the prospects and invite them in.  If they don't want to come in but they put a name of a referral on their comment card then we'll ask for permission to call them.

Dec 9, 2008 5:42 am

I have no problem with someone doing your kind of event, but sometimes a canned answer is a canned answer because it works. 

 
Getting referrals from someone before they become a client has three huge benefits:
1) It ensures that you get paid for your time regardless of whether they become a client.
2) It increases the odds of them becoming a client. 
3) It makes it much easier for them to open up their rolodex and start spitting out names once they become a client.
 
If one knows how to ask, it's pretty easy to do.
 
Dec 9, 2008 8:45 am

I have found that when asking for a referral from a "not-client", you have to wait for the right moment.  This is usually when the prospect has had an "ah-hah" moment with you.  For example, you are walking them through your investment philosophy, you are reviewing your common strategies for their 401K/options/deferred stock, etc. (whatever you are doing), and the client obviously has a sense of "yeah, that's a great idea" or "yeah, everyone at work complains about taht - that's a good idea."  WHatever it might be, that's a great time to say "you know what, I love working with people from XYZ Corp. because... (fill in the blank with your expertise, etc.), why don't you talk to some of the people you work with and let them know that I can help them with the same problem."


Obviously, your words will be different, and some of the facts might be different, but that's one way to do it - show them how you solve their problem, then go for the referral. 
 
Then tell them "you know I get paid in two ways....blah, blah, blah.." 
Dec 9, 2008 8:17 pm

B24, does that seriously work for you?   In the past, that type of thing has never worked for me.  For non-clients, I get my referrals from feeding names. 

Dec 9, 2008 9:19 pm

Well, it works in specific cases. I am in a situation where I have two major employers that I draw most of my clients from, so I can talk very intelligently about their 401K plans, their pensions, etc. Once prospects see how much I know about their plans, they are usually willing to refer people to me. Now, sometimes it's "let me give cards to my friends/co-workers, etc.", but sometimes I will get specific names. I will also try to "paint the picture" for them - "so , is there anyone else in the XYZ department that is retiring soon that would need help working through this?"

Don't get me wrong - I'm not getting 10 referrals a month like this, I was just outlining how I hppen to get a few referrals from people that are not clients yet.