Referrals or as I prefer to call them, introductions to a business really are the cornerstone to a financial advice business. Whether it’s through someone you know, a partner firm or client, being introduced to a potential new client is a great result for a business.
Wanting and receiving however, can be two very different things, as many experience. Some Advisers I’ve spoken to over the years are very comfortable asking for introductions whilst others who have been in the industry for more than two decades are not. Having surveyed hundreds of clients of financial advisers I know that most of the time the client has never been asked and if they were would be delighted to introduce their friends and family – it’s just something they had never thought of, and why should they!
An introduction can come from many sources and for a couple of reasons. Someone may have directly experienced your advice and be pleased with the outcome or, someone may know you by reputation either online or offline and be happy to refer your name.
At the end of the day I believe there are many factors to be considered when and if you ask for introductions and below are just some ideas I have that may help you.
- Identify and nurture top referrers. I will confess that I am a manic referrer. Whenever I meet someone and hear they have a problem I will automatically go through my filing cabinet of contacts in my mind to find the right person to help out. You will most likely have people you know who do this naturally as well. These are the people that appreciate being kept up to date with how your business is progressing, any new services you may have introduced to the business and so forth. They may not be a client, they be someone who understands the work that you do and refers based on that. Keep in contact with them and keep them up to date.
- Create real life case studies. Case studies are a terrific way to demonstrate the results you can achieve for clients. Most Dealer Groups have standard case studies that you can use but if you can create a case study with an actual clients details [their written consent required] in it, others can see who you are doing work for which can be more believable and convincing.
- Try and use your top clients situations in your presentations or articles you may write. Again written consent needs to be sought. By doing this, it not only highlights the results you can get people [constant messaging] it may also result in someone knowing that client [directly or indirectly] and may act as an endorsement for your services.
- Interview other experts. I’ve been suggesting this one for years now because it works! Interview other people who have a high profile that your clients would appreciate learning from. As a result of the interview they will learn more about your business and may position you to receive referrals from them and more of your clients. It’s also a great way to position your business in a specialised niche.
- Leveraging point 5 – openly talk about your area of specialisation. For example, you may enjoy working with Expats or recently divorced people [growing area]. Market your business based on your specialisation. People prefer to deal with specialists and you are so much easier to remember and be referred than the Adviser who deals with everyone on everything.
- Build your reputation. By developing a visible reputation you increase the likelihood of being introduced to people you can partner with and work with. With our prolific use of digital tools to source information to solve our problems, having a digital reputation makes perfect sense. The more people can find you, see your area of specialisation, read what others have said about your work, the more chance you have of being referred to others.
Gaining more client referrals is only one part of an effective marketing strategy and for referrals to work there needs to other considerations built into a business, for example, the client experience and the work that you actually do.
I trust the points above may assist you building your robust marketing strategy.