Unlocking Real Value Blog

Why Don’t You Ask For Referrals?

Advisors are notorious for failing to ask for referrals (or for those of you that don’t like that word – introductions). A recent SEI Quick Poll confirmed this point,  finding that nearly half of the advisors interviewed only ask a small percentage of their clients for referrals, and only about 20% said that seeking referrals is a “regular routine and key reason for my success.” Many advisors I have spoken with over the years sheepishly admit that they don’t ask for referrals even though they know how important they are.

Referrals represent the best and, in many cases, the easiest way to grow your business and your prospect pipeline. It’s our equivalent of real estate’s “Location, Location, Location.” A happy and well-informed client should be more than happy to make introductions for you. Especially in turbulent times, they should be your greatest advocate. This is assuming of course that you have been effectively communicating with them throughout the rocky past few months.

I have found that many advisors don’t ask for referrals because they simply don’t know how – they haven’t crafted their referral elevator speech or formalized their process for asking for referrals. Incorporating a formal referral system into your business is as important as your other strategies – like your marketing strategy and your social media strategy (You do have one of those, don’t you?). Formalizing the referral process is not a hard or time-consuming. For example, why not make asking for referrals a regular part of your quarterly or annual reviews? If you are still reluctant, perhaps start by inviting the client to a client appreciation event that you are sponsoring and encourage them to bring a friend; this might get you feeling more confident.

Craft a statement and practice it. Tell the client why you are asking for a referral and assure them that you will update them on your progress. Clients, especially business owners, understand the importance of networking and referrals. If you are doing a good job for them, asking should in no way jeopardize your relationship. Clients are waiting to be asked – you just need to do it!

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