11 Magic Words: Financial Advisors and Reciprocal Referrals

two way street referralsFinancial advisors asking for referrals, now that’s an interesting topic! I was presenting at a conference for financial advisors a few weeks ago. My favorite topic is “Prospecting” so for this group I created a PowerPoint presentation, “29 Surefire Ways to Prospect for New Clients” that includes a section specifically about asking for referrals from centers of influence such as CPA’s, accountants, and estate planning attorneys.

I can identify with advisors who like getting referrals. Fifty percent of my new clients come from referrals. It’s funny 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?”

Financial advisors asking for referrals – start a conversation!

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.

Hit the “non-referrer” with a direct statement!

Use these 11 simple words 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!

About Suzanne Muusers

4 Responses to “11 Magic Words: Financial Advisors and Reciprocal Referrals”

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  1. Stan Mann says:

    Reading your blog made me laugh, Suzanne. A nice lesson in assertiveness without being aggressive. I believe you have to earn referrals and just giving a referral, in my mind, is not earning a referral. I believe you earn a referral when you can offer something of real value to your associated professionals’ (CPAs, lawyers) clients.

    Your question hits the nail on the head, “what can I do to earn referrals,” is another way of asking how can I add value to your clients so you will want to refer to me.

  2. Stan, you are absolutely correct. If you’re not providing excellent service and doing what’s right for your clients, then this whole post is useless. Thanks for weighing in.

  3. jeff says:

    its amazing how much of our personal economy really revolves around our relationships with family, friends, collegues, and how much our “personal referrals” matter. Our professional referrals are a reflection of this as well.

  4. Jeff,
    I totally agree. Many people don’t realize how relationship building is really key to most any business. Thanks for stopping by.