You think that if you do a good job for your clients, you will get referrals. Wrong. They've got better things to do than worry about how you grow your business. If you want to get unsolicited referrals, your service would need to be outside the realm of reasonable. You would need to do something extraordinary, beyond their expectations. It is not enough to merely be "good."
But maybe there's an easier way. Rather than wait for unsolicited referrals, why not solicit them--in the RIGHT way.
Everyone tells you to get referrals, that it’s the easiest way to build your business. But how many financial professionals do you know who get an abundance of referrals? Not too many. And how many producers work hard at it, but end up with little results? They join the board of a non-profit, they contribute to the opera foundation and get tickets to the gala, and they network in the appropriate circles. That’s a lot of work for referrals which may not be forthcoming.
Successful referral gatherers ASK their clients bring them more people. Those few producers who have a continuous stream of referrals have discovered the steps that you too can use to generate that continuous referral flow. Here are the 3 steps t your process:
1. When starting off a new client relationship, you must ask, “What will I need to do so that you tell all of your friends about me?” WRITE DOWN THE ANSWER AND THEN DO WHAT THEY SAY! Most clients will not say, “I want to double my money in a year,” or some other request that is impossible to honor. (if they do ask for something unreasonable, get rid of this client fast). They will say something like, “I just want you to stay in touch every couple months, help me not to lose money and call back the same day when I call you.” You can promise to honor this request and deliver on it.
2. After 60-90 days, you set up a meeting with a client. You explain that the meeting is to do a review and for their assistance in developing your business. Tell them to bring their phone/address book.
At the meeting you read to them what they told you at the beginning of the relationship. You read them the requirement they stated in step #1 above. Then ask them if you have done what they required. They then see that you did what you promised and they will also. They will provide you referrals.
3. Last, you need to get your client to introduce you to the referral. When I say "introduce," you actually think of an in-person meeting but that is not necessary. there are other ways they can introduce you. If you just get a referral name and phone number from a client, that’s pretty worthless. When you call the referral without an introduction don’t expect much because:
- They don’t know who you are.
- They don’t know what you do.
- They don’t know why you are calling.
- They don’t know how you got their name.
- They don’t know why somebody gave you their name and they are not expecting your call.
Therefore, you need your client to call the referral, send a note or physically introduce you (all are good introductions). Getting them to send a letter is easiest because you can have your client sign a standard form letter saying how great you are. With your client’s permission, you then run it back through your laser printer adding your client’s return address. The note arrives at the referral’s home and appears to have been sent from your client’s home. This is all done with full awareness and agreement by your client.
Of course, not every client will provide referrals. However for those clients that provide none, you will have other clients that provide 25 (the record so far that we know of is 150). The key is to treat this as a system rather than an ad hoc process of asking whenever you remember.
This process is neither a lot of work nor very time consuming. Best of all, you can build these three simple steps into your normal client monitoring procedures. Three simple steps to generate new clients every month.