If You Want More Sex, It Is Not About How Much You Ask For It; Same With Referrals

Friday, January 20, 2012 09:44
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If You Want More Sex, It Is Not About How Much You Ask For It; Same With Referrals

Tags: differentiation | marketing | referrals

 

Attracting referrals is like attracting sex. Stick with me and I’ll explain.

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I saw a newsletter yesterday that stated as fact “The single biggest reason you aren’t getting more referrals is because you’re not asking enough.” Garbage.  

The biggest reason advisors don’t get more referrals is they don’t understand how they happen.
 
Why do people give you referrals? Because they're social animals.
Humans have a natural need to give you referrals. They are social currency. They expand influence. They are a way of networking. 
It is perfectly natural to want to do things for the people who are important to you, and providing referrals is one way you can do it.
Being the source of good information, be someone other people look to for advice, makes us feel important.
As John Jantsch says in his book, The Referral Engine, “Being recognized as a source of good information, including referrals, is a great way to connect with others. Think about how eagerly you responded the last time someone asked you for directions, offering up your favorite shortcut and tips for avoiding traffic. We all do it. Making referrals is a deeply satisfying way to connect with others—asking for referrals is just the other side of the same phenomenon. I think the growth of many popular social networks can be traced to the fact that people love to connect and form communities around shared ideas.”
 
In his book The New Art and Science of Referral Marketing, Scott Degraffenreid utilized social network analysis to examine why people make referrals. His study demonstrated something that makes intuitive sense: people refer to elevate their standing with peers.  
Asking a client to provide you a referral actually can hijack the process. It's like Russell Crowe in the movie, A Beautiful Mind, playing the role of John Nash.  In the movie, Nash's friends bring him to a bar and find a single girl. They persuade Nash to go up to the girl and ask her out, but he doesn’t know how to ask a girl for a date. So he just goes for the gold and says:

"I don't exactly know what I am required to say in order for you to have intercourse with me, so could we just assume I said all that? I mean, essentially what we are talking about here is fluid exchange. We could just skip straight to the sex."
How do you suppose that turned out? Not well.. The women would not go to bed with Nash just because it is good for him. Besides not having any interest in him, there are real risks involved for her. Nash doesn’t appreciate that for a woman to want to go to bed with him, she needs to have certain feelings about him first.

When a client makes a referral to you, it is because he or she feels certain things about you. Clients must feel strongly enough about what they will get out of it, and that it is worth the risk they expose themselves to by sharing a friend with us.
Making a referral must be an experience clients benefit from. And if you disrespect your client by going directly for the result without the allowing for the full process to unfold, you'll get slapped down like Nash did. 
Understand why people would want to make referrals to you, and provide that experience to them.
 
 

 

Comments (6)

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I agree that if you go to a bar and say to a total stranger, "Hey, wanna go to bed?" it won't work.

However, if you're already in a good relationship it will. (You'd be remiss in your partner's eyes if you never did, no?)

By analogy, if you have a relationship with a satisfied client, you're already in bed together -- why NOT ask?

I give my clients the "verbal viagra" to get them in the mood to request referrals. (I tell them to see a doctor if they ask for more than 4 hours ...)
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , January 20, 2012
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stephenw585
Verbal viagra - that's awesome!

The main reason I object to asking is because clients make referrals to improve their standing with their peers, not to make us happy. And we're generally not in attendance when that opportunity arises.

I believe in discussing referrals with clients, but not to directly ask. Describe your ideal client, ask their advice on how they recommend you find people like that, ask for specific introductions to people you have already identified, things like that.

Thanks for the comment!
stephenw585 , January 22, 2012
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vguettlein
I believe asking for referrals is kinda like a doctor asking if we know anyone else who wants surgery, or our lawyer asking if we know someone else who wants to sue. That said, we do need to let them know we are "interested". I think maybe it depends on your market and geography as well. "Go get your Rolodex" IS like asking, "Hey, wanna F***?!", at least around here it is; if you get a positive response, you might be in the wrong bar.
vguettlein , January 23, 2012
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It's incumbent on advisors to find the best way to let satisfied clients know they'd like referrals. Subtle or direct approaches can both work.

Shame on FA's who do a great job, then never get referrals because their too inhibited to put it out there. They're robbing their clients of helping their friends and associates from getting the help may they need in their financial affairs -- they should be arrested for that.
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , January 23, 2012
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stephenw585
Coach,

That's a little over the top, don't you think? A client should be arrested for not looking out for a friend's financial plan? Really? You're sounding a little like an insurance sales manager. "Deprive your friends of this amazing policy and you will have to live with the guilt!!"

If clients don't refer they aren't robbing their friends of anything. Yes, their friends (who have problems we can solve) would be better off if they met us. Let's get expert at helping them recognize those situations. Asking clients (without context)to hand over a few names and numbers doesn't do that. Helping them recognize when they can do some good by mentioning us does, and that's what we should be doing - preparing them to get benefits for themselves by remembering to mention us when the opportunity arises. And no one has to get arrested for anything.
stephenw585 , January 27, 2012
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Insurance sales manager Stephen? You sure know how to damn a guy with faint praise -- you coulda said Ron Popeil ... "But wait -- there's more!"

Yes, I agree -- context is the key.
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , January 27, 2012

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