As a financial advisor, do you know the best way to get new clients? The answer is, having current satisfied clients or others you have an association with refer new clients to you.
Why getting new clients through referrals is wonderful
Getting new clients through referrals is a wonderful way to grow your financial advisor practice for a number of reasons.
First, if your current clients or others you are associated with are referring potential clients to you, it means you are doing a good job. They think enough of you and the service you provide to tell someone else about you.
Second, when a new client comes to you by way of referral, they already have a positive impression of you. They already know something about you and want to do business with you.
Third, getting clients by referral doesn’t have to cost a lot money. When a current client or someone else refers someone to you, it doesn’t cost anything. When you take steps to encourage referrals, they can be free in a direct sense or at least inexpensive for the most part.
Fourth, referrals can be a great way to get more affluent potential clients. These types of clients might be harder to reach through other marketing methods, and referrals can be a great way to get an introduction.
Fifth, a referral campaign can be used in conjunction with a prospecting program or other marketing plans to produce even greater results.
Sixth, referrals have the potential to lead to more referrals. The more referrals you get, the more satisfied clients you can have, and the more referrals you can get. It’s a very happy cycle!
A Financial Advisor Referral Campaign
If you want to increase the number of referrals you get for your financial advisor practice, consider implementing a referral campaign. I can help you set one up through business coaching.
A referral campaign is a thought through plan of communication to get more referrals. It involves four communication aspects. They are:
- who you communicate to
- how you communicate
- what you communicate
- how often you communicate
Before we go into the communication aspects and what makes up a referral campaign though, there are two important things to consider first.
Your Service and Reputation as a Financial Advisor
Before having a referral campaign, it’s important to have the kind of financial advisor business and be the kind of person others want to refer potential clients to. The way to do this is by providing good service and maintaining a positive reputation.
Providing good service involves a number of different things. Some include:
- responding to clients in a timely manner
- following up with clients as needed
- explaining things in a way clients understand
- listening to clients
- providing the different services clients want
Having a positive reputation means things like:
- being straightforward at all times
- giving clients complete information
- being professional and courteous
- going the extra mile to make things right for clients when necessary
- getting to know clients and others you are associated with as people
- being active in your community
If you can provide good service to your current clients and you have a positive reputation, you can be well on your way to getting referrals and be in a great position to implement a referral campaign.
If you are a leader at your organization, it’s important to keep in mind that good service and reputation are things that extends to all of your staff members. If everyone does their part, you can have the kind of business that people want to refer potential clients to.
Who You Communicate to in a Referral Campaign
When starting a referral campaign, the first thing to consider is who you are going to communicate to. Who are you going to get referrals from?
Although you may not realize it, you probably have many people you could get referrals from. People who could send you referrals include:
- current clients
- past clients
- centers of influence
- financial advisors with different focuses (either geographic, markets served, or services provided)
- people you know through associations and other groups you belong to
- specifically members of leads and networking groups you belong to
- people you do business with
- former colleagues
A great place to start looking for names and contact information of people who could send you referrals is actually probably right next to you, right now. It’s your phone!
Going through your phone’s contact list can be a great place to start making a list of people who could send you referrals. You might have hundreds of names with contact information.
After your phone, you could check the list of people who are friends on different social media platforms you use. After that you might check database software you might have on your computer. You could then check databases of associations you are a member of. You might also check business cards you have collected.
Once you’ve gathered the names and contact information of people you could communicate with to get referrals, the next step is to think about how you can communicate with them.
How do you communicate to get referrals?
There are a lot of ways to communicate with someone that can encourage them to send you referrals. Here are some communication methods you might consider:
- phone calls
- text messages
- social media
- client appreciation events
- other events
- meeting in person
These different methods can be used together to reach the people who are part of your referral campaign. With these methods you can connect with people and encourage them to send you referrals.
What You Communicate as Part of a Financial Advisor Referral Campaign
Now that you know who you are going to communicate to and how you could communicate, the next step is to consider what you are going to communicate. What are you going to say?
What you communicate to someone will vary depending on the situation. Whatever the situation though, there are three things to keep in mind.
First, remember that the best types of communications are focused on something more than getting a referral. When you communicate with someone it might be to connect, convey information, find out information, or something else. These are the main purposes of genuine communication. These things enable you to remind someone about your financial advisor business and to ask for a referral, but the other things you are saying are the real focus of your communication.
When you communicate you could communicate a number of different things. For example, with a current client, you might communicate with them to:
- let them know how things are going with their finances
- find out how they are doing and if, for example, they have had any major life events
- wish them a happy birthday
- send them a greeting on various holidays
- let them know about a service you provide that they might be interested in
- invite them to a client appreciation event
- ask them a question related to their finances
- talk about something you know that has happened in their lives
- give them information they might find useful and interesting
- let them know about something important that has happened at your firm
These are just some examples. You can think of more and maybe even make a list for each of the categories of people you might contact. You’ll probably find that there is some overlap in what you could communicate between different groups. That’s a good thing that can make communication simpler.
The second thing to keep in mind, is the idea of reminding people that you are a financial advisor. Although you might not think they would forget (especially if they are a client, for example), it might not be top of mind when they think of you. They might think of you first as an acquaintance, someone they know from some group, or just as someone they know in some other capacity. Reminding them you are a financial advisor can help this be top of mind.
Reminding people you are a financial advisor can be easy. There are lots of ways to do it. Sometimes it will be a function of the communication, like if you send a financial newsletter, or if you call to update a client on their financial situation. Sometimes though you might have to find ways to work it in. Here are some ideas:
- You can use a branded email such as email@example.com, instead of firstname.lastname@example.org.
- You can use an email signature that has your name, your credentials, your business name, a tag line, and contact information.
- When sending letters, postcards, newsletters and so forth, you could send them from your business with your business address. You could also use business logos, letterheads, and envelopes where appropriate.
- You could develop a script so you can bring up your work in conversation. For example, if someone asks how things are going, you could have something ready to say about being a financial advisor. I often coach my clients to say “In my work as a financial advisor…”
- You could talk to people about general financial issues. You could discuss the economy, markets overall, or basic financial ideas.
- When doing something business related, you could carry a laptop case or a briefcase that has your company name on it.
These are just a few ideas. There are more you could use. In any communication you use though, you can probably find a way to put in a reminder about what you do and the type of services you provide. The more that people see things like that, the more likely they will be to have you and your profession top of mind.
The third thing to keep in mind is to ask for a referral. Of course, if you provide great service, have a good reputation, communicate with people, and remind them you are a financial advisor, referrals can come without a reminder. That being said though, if done the right way, asking can increase the number of referrals you receive. Some people you may communicate with may not have thought to send you a referral or that you were looking to expand your financial advisor business that way. By asking, you can let them know.
When asking for referrals, you don’t want to do it with every communication. It’s best to find times when it is appropriate and natural. You can look for places where it naturally fits into the communication and where it would be of value to the person you are communicating with.
With this in mind, I’d like to ask you for a referral. If you are a client of mine, or someone who simply reads my blog posts and values the information I provide, and you know a financial advisor who could benefit from coaching, please give them my name. I would appreciate it and do my best to provide them with great service.
How Often do You Communicate in a Referral Campaign?
How often you communicate is an important question to consider. It will depend on a number of things such as your personality, your financial advisor business, your clients and others you communicate with, how often people in your various communication groups want to be communicated with, and how people in your various communication groups want to receive communications.
When communicating, it is important to have a balance. You want to communicate enough, such that, should someone you’re communicating with meet someone who needs a financial advisor, that you will be the first person they think of. Given this though, you don’t want to communicate so often that people might feel it’s too much.
Also important to keep in mind, is that there are rules for different types of communications, for example, sending marketing emails. You want to make sure you follow all the rules that you need to.
When thinking about how often to communicate, consider the person you are communicating with and your relationship with them. For some people, you might be able to communicate with them two or three times per month. For other people, it might only be appropriate to communicate with them two or three times per year.
Putting it All Together
So now that you know the four aspects of a referral campaign, how does it look in real life? How would this actually work?
Well, let’s say that one group you decide to communicate with are your current clients. We’ll just look at them for now. Of course, in your campaign, you might have more groups. For this example, current clients would make up the first aspect of your referral campaign. They are who you would be communicating to.
Next, you might decide that you are going to communicate in the following ways with your current clients: phone calls, mailed letters, mailed cards, email newsletters, and client appreciation events. That would be the second aspect of your referral campaign. That’s how you are going to communicate.
The next thing you would think about would be what you are going to communicate. You might decide that when you call clients it is to let them know how things are going, ask and answer questions, and find out about their lives. You might decide that your letters would include reports you send to clients. You could use cards for birthdays, holiday greetings, and invitations. Your newsletter could be about developments at your firm, general economic news, and useful information for clients. Your client appreciation event would be a time to connect with clients. This would be the third aspect of your referral campaign. It’s what you are going to communicate.
The next thing you would think about would be how often you are going to communicate. For this example, you might decide to do the following:
You might decide to call clients once every two months to discuss their situation.
For the reports you send, you might decide to send these twice a year.
Each year you would send one birthday card, maybe two holiday cards, and an invitation to a client appreciation event.
For your newsletters, you might decide that once per quarter is good for your current clients.
Lastly, you might decide to have a client appreciate event once per year.
All together this would be:
6 phone calls
2 mailed reports
4 mailed cards
4 emailed newsletters
1 client appreciation event
This would total 17 communications per client in one year. This means that, on average, you would be communicating with clients about once or twice per month. This might not seem like that much from a client’s perspective, but it can be a great way to keep you and your financial advisor business top of mind for when that client has a potential client they can refer to you.
Now, the above is just an example. Your situation might be different, and you might do different things for different groups. The basic idea of going through the four aspects and organizing the information is the same though. Once you have everything laid out, what you need to do can seem simpler and like something you can accomplish.
When you think about expanding your business, one important thing to consider is expansion by referrals. Referrals are a great way to grow your financial advisor business, and with a referral campaign, you can increase the number of referrals you receive.
As you make your campaign, consider who you are going to communicate to, how you are going to communicate, what you are going to communicate, and how often you will communicate. If you go step by step and put everything together in an organized way, you can develop a referral plan that can help you grow your financial advisor business.