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

Market volatility is when more people talk about their investments.

During a market downturn, people are more likely to talk about their investments and the professionals used to manage them. It makes sense—there’s more to talk about when the markets are volatile. For that reason, now is a great time to be in front of clients and (hopefully) get them to tell others about you.

The goal is for clients to move beyond “passive advocacy.” If someone asks them directly about financial advisors they’d recommend, we hope your name would naturally come up. We want to take this to the next level, with them on the lookout for you for new business opportunities.

To be clear, this is not asking for referrals. Instead, it’s having a discussion to help them identify opportunities in everyday conversations. There are a couple of key points to drive home. First, let them know you’d like to bring on some new client relationships. Second, identify specific types of conversations that provide natural opportunities for them to reference you.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Referral Desire: It may seem obvious, but not all clients understand that you’re actively looking to grow your business. It’s helpful to reinforce this. After all, one of the main reasons a client refers is because they like you and want to help you out. You could say something like…

As you know, the majority of the families we work with come from word-of-mouth. Right now we do have the capacity to add a handful of new relationships. Do keep us in mind when talking to those who are (mention your ideal client profile in terms of occupation, life stage, etc..)”

  1. Referral Opportunities: Right now there are more and more conversations happening about the economy and financial markets. Identify some of these conversations as opportunities for clients to introduce you. You could say something like…

“Not everyone handles market volatility the same way. If you happen to be speaking with someone who is concerned about their investments or advisors, please connect them with us. A joint email goes a long way.”

There’s no one conversation that’s going to lead to more referrals, but spaced repetition is the name of the game. Let clients know that you’re “open for business” and the types of conversations that are conducive to referrals. Over time, you’ll see more and more proactive referrals taking place.

Stephen Boswell is a partners with The Oechsli Institute, a firm that specializes in research and training for the financial services industry. @StephenBoswell

TAGS: Prospecting
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