In a recent post, I talked about the client-centered referral mindset: positioning your referral requests in terms of how you can help your clients and the people they know, not in terms of how they can help you.
Common sense, right? That's why it's amazing how many "referral experts" recommend methods of asking for referrals that not only focus on the advisor, but actually border on blackmail.
Do any of these sound familiar?
- "I can either spend my time looking for new clients or providing better service to your account. You determine that via the referrals you send me. Which will it be?"
- "Since you've found value in what I've done for you, let's sit down and brainstorm: Who do you know who could benefit from my services?"
- "I'd really appreciate it if you could refer me to a few of your friends. I need new clients to stay in business—it's so hard these days to find prospects."
- "There are two ways I get paid—from commissions and from your referrals."
As Horsesmouth expert and referral guru Michael Brizz says, if you're going to position referrals that way, you might as well have the word 'bloodsucker' branded across your head.
Here's a better way:
"You mentioned that your father is retiring soon and that he's been worrying about what's going to happen with his company's pension plan. I have helped a number of clients who have also retired from XYZ Corporation over the past few years, and I think may be able to answer some of his questions and put his mind at ease. Would you like to talk to him about setting up a time for the three of us to get together?"
See the difference? Now you're a potential hero—a caring expert rather than an extortionist.
Check out chapter two of Automatic Referrals for more about the client-centered referral approach. Also, take a look at Referrals: 8 Tactics That Make Asking Easier (free registration required) for more about how to make your referral requests more effective.
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