I was presenting at a conference for financial advisors a few weeks ago. My favorite topic is “Prospecting” so for this group I was paid to put together a PowerPoint presentation: “29 Surefire Ways to Prospect for New Clients.” *See the PowerPoint here on my LinkedIn Profile, at the bottom of my summary.
I can identify with advisors who like getting referrals. Fifty percent of my new clients come from referrals. It’s funny really because my clients don’t generally refer me to advisors in their own city and state. But if they are attending a conference or seminar out of state they will recommend me to advisors they meet there. I have learned that this is because my clients see me as their “secret weapon” and don’t want their geographic competitors to benefit the way they have.
At the conference, I was speaking about the importance of prospecting and generating referrals from CPA’s and Estate Planning Attorneys. One participant in the front row said “What do you do if you consistently refer clients but never get referrals in return?”
So I said “Quite simply, you should not tolerate this situation.” Over and over again I hear that advisors do not receive reciprocal referrals and I wonder why they put up with it. If this is happening to you, it’s time to have a meeting with the non-referrer.
Leading up to the discussion, you can take this approach: “Mr. Non-Referrer, I have enjoyed sending you clients in years past. Mr. Jones was very happy with the estate plan you created for him. Mrs. Smith was overjoyed that she no longer has to worry about her children when she passes on. The thing is Mr. Non-Referrer, I am very much interested in developing strong relationships with professionals who are mindful of reciprocal referrals.
Then, hit them with a direct statement. Here are 11 simple words to say to the non-referrer to take care of this problem once and for all:
“What can I do to help you refer clients to me?”
What you will learn from being direct and asking this question is whether this person will ever send you referrals. If they are not going to reciprocate, move on. If they give you some actionable advice about what you can do to get those precious referrals, then by all means give it a try. But don’t put up with a one-way street.
There are plenty of CPA’s and Estate Planning Attorneys who are competent and who are willing to refer clients to you. Being bold and asking for the business never hurts. All they can say is “no” in which case you move on!