I’ve worked in financial services the better part of twenty-five years now and never once in this time has referrals not been an active part of any conversation having to do with business development and growth. Referrals continue to be and will always be a way of doing business.
So why aren’t more people asking for referrals?
This is a valid question and a bit rhetorical, too. I met with a financial advisor in Nebraska not long ago who said after thirty years in the business he was still apprehensive about asking for a referral. When I pressed him on the topic he said, “I just don’t like to sound pushy.”
Why does asking for a referral mean you’re pushy? I look at the process as help. If I came to you today and asked you to help me, would you do it? (For the sake of this article and to temper your desire to be snarky and say ‘no’ – let’s say you WOULD help me. Ha!) Of course, you would help me and I would help you. Helping each other is what makes us human.
Why a referral vs. paid lead?
The best-qualified lead is a referral. People like to do business with those their friends know, like, and trust (what I call the KLT Factor). Buying a lead means you have to start from scratch and build that KLT Factor. Who wants to start anything from scratch in business? That’s just not very profitable and is time-consuming.
It’s important you are taking care of your best clients, too. Visit them, call, write, etc. They will be the ones who many times provide you with the best referrals.
How can you ask for help today?
Asking for a referral may take you way out your comfort zone (and I wrote about that the other day so read this, too). It’s time to push you forward and get a little gritty. But, how about leveraging technology today to take the ERR out of the referral? That sounds better, right?
Using your social media accounts like LinkedIn and Facebook, start looking at the people your best clients are connected with and use that information in a genuine way. For example, ask your client if they wouldn’t mind introducing you to so-and-so. Most people don’t mind doing this at all, they simply need you to ask. Or ask a client if they know anyone who works at such-and-such (of course you know they do) and then wait for them to mention someone so you can ask for the introduction.
Data is there for you to leverage
So many financial advisors today are walking by so much business simply because they do not understand the power of data leverage. Everyone has a center of influence or professional they know: doctors, lawyers, CPAs, dentists, small business owners, etc. and each of these has a unique planning need you could be potentially filling. You simply need to get in front of them – so leverage data you already have in front of you.
Be a person of action – today, not tomorrow, today I want you to go to LinkedIn and start looking at who your connections are connected to and ask for three introductions. If you made this activity part of your daily routine, you would meet more new people and begin the process of bringing more clients into your practice. Activity begets activity.