It is not true what you been told – you don't get more referrals because you ask for more.
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In my work, I know that people refer not because they are asked to, but because they want to. John Jantsch
, in his book The Referral Engine
, goes a little further – people refer because they need to.
A study about to be published by Julie Littlechild
of Advisor Impact
now reveals statistics to support this understanding (thanks to Michael Kitces
, whose blog
brought this to my attention). Littlechild found that 57% of clients who referred did so because they found a friend who had a need they knew the advisor could address. In her prior study, The Economics Of Loyalty
, she had already established how little impact asking for referrals had. In comparing the category of clients who made virtually all the referrals to the categories of clients who made no referrals, she found no significant difference in whether or how often the advisor asked for them.
Jantsch writes that in a modern referral generating system, the orientation has changed from finding to being found. How do you accomplish this?
Provide excellent service. This may seem obvious, but many advisors do not focus on this, and even more advisors fail to go out to their clients to ask whether the service is perceived to be excellent (or even what the clients consider “excellent”). As Peter Montoya recently said
, “If you aren't receiving client referrals, frankly, your service stinks.”
Be something that sets you apart. You must be different from other advisors so that when a client hears a friend or acquaintance express a need or desire, they will be able to match it to that special thing you stand for.
Engage your clients in helping you understand what is unique about you that they value, and how to describe it. As they teach you how to describe the unique value you bring to clients, they will be teaching themselves. And when they find a friend or acquaintance who needs that particular value, the referrals will come.