As a financial advisor, building long-lasting client relationships is the foundation of your business. A successful advisor knows how to leverage those relationships to generate more business through referrals. Here are 5 client referral tips to get you started!
Referral Tip 1: Show Appreciation!
Your business starts and ends with your customer’s satisfaction, therefore, our first tip is to focus on what matters! Nurture your relationships by showing appreciation through events such as client dinners, family ice skating days, sporting events, etc.
Click here to read 6 Client Event Ideas to Grow Your Financial Advisory Business!
Make a point to avoid selling your services during these events. Client appreciation events are meant to delight; something extra to say you value their business and look forward to continuing working with them. Selling more services or asking for something in return can come off as inauthentic and do more harm than good. Your goal is to make each of your clients feel they’re a priority and to reassure them they’ve made a great decision choosing you as their advisor. This will naturally pay off in the long term!
According to a study conducted by American Express, 45% of customers reported that appreciation for them as a client is very important in providing excellent care.
Referral Tip 2: Assess Your Relationship
Assess how well you’re doing before asking for a referral. This tip goes hand-in-hand with nurturing your client relationships, because regardless of their answer, checking up on your clients regularly is a way to show appreciation. It communicates to your clients that you genuinely care about their business, and they aren’t just another client. It’s an added personal touch that will not go unnoticed.
If a client does respond negatively, this is your chance to turn things around. Asking prematurely for a referral is a commonly made mistake by advisors, and can be detrimental!
How can you gauge the strength of your relationships? After an appropriate amount of time (we find every 3-6 months to be the ideal timeframe to ask for feedback) reach out directly by making a personal phone call to ask how they feel about their experience so far. Of course, calling each client individually can be tedious and time-consuming, so an alternative is to send a personal email or survey with similar questions (more later on how technology can help streamline your referral marketing).
Be mindful of how you phrase your questions. It’s important to keep them open-ended while inviting feedback. To maintain customer loyalty, you have to listen and replicate their positive experiences with others and alleviate the negative - their answers are your litmus test! A couple example questions:
“We’ve been working together for 6 months now, how beneficial have you found our work?”
“How likely are you to recommend my services to a friend or family member?”
Referral Tip 3: Don't Forget To Ask!
Once you’ve determined that your client relationship is healthy, it’s time to ask for the referral. This is another mistake that advisors often make; they simply forget to ask!
How important is it to ask for your referrals vs relying on them naturally to occur?
81% of customers trust recommendations from family and friends over those from companies & 58% of wealthy investors found their advisor through a referral.
Here are some great tips from The Advisor Coach on how to ask for your customer’s valuable referral:
- Hand out more than one business card to clients and let them know you’d greatly appreciate their support.
- Let people know that you’re an expert in a particular niche. Your clients most likely have many friends and connections within the same profession.
- Include a note within your email signature:
- “Know someone in the law industry who’s searching for a new advisor? Mention my name, all referrals receive a $50 gift card to Amazon”
- Don’t be shy about asking clients directly, you never know the connections that can be made on the spot.
Referral Tip 4: Referrals Are Give & Take
Sometimes providing an incentive can be the push your clients need to actually follow through with the referral. Try to offer an incentive like dinner for two or a percentage off their fees for a limited time.
Additionally, referrals don’t always have to come from your clients! Don’t forget about other connections in your industry. For example, if you know a great mortgage broker, build that relationship to the point where they’re constantly referring clients to you and you return the favor.
Referral Tip 5: Technology Is On Your Side
Technology is on your side! Have you ever been saved by Facebook for reminding you of a friend’s birthday? Or placed a reminder on your phone to remember an important anniversary or event in a loved one’s life? Or on the flip side, missed an important date altogether because technology wasn’t utilized? As your client base grows, keeping up-to-date with each client and maintaining a personal touch can become challenging. When you get to this point, adopting technology like a CRM (customer relationship management software) tool or email automation can make all the difference in sustaining your excellent client experience.
Click here to read about 6 Popular CRMs for Financial Advisors!
When used together, a CRM system can keep track of important dates for each client including anniversary, birthdays, retirement or other important milestones. Take it to the next level by syncing your CRM with an email automation software to automatically message your clients on important dates!
Remember that referrals are EARNED. You can’t ask for a referral overnight, it’s a slow process and takes time to nurture a relationship into one with trust and loyalty before a referrals start pouring in. We hope these 5 referral tips help you turn your current clients into personal advocates for your business!
You may also like our infographic: Client Referral Statistics for Financial Advisors
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