During our recent webinar on Morningstar Advisor, "How to Trigger Natural Client Referrals by Conquering Referral Anxiety" (replay available here), my colleague Sean Bailey and I were unable to answer a number of questions submitted by the advisors in attendance due to time constraints. So I'll be answering those questions here on the Automatic Referrals blog.
This one is from Linda T.: "When I receive a referral, I send the client a thank you after I have met with that referral. Are there any ideas you have for how to make that thank you memorable to ensure I get more referrals?"
Linda, it's great that you're aware of how important it is to say thanks for referrals. Not only is it basic manners, but it really works. At a bare minimum, you should be sending a handwritten thank-you note on fine stationery—but many advisors do find that a small but memorable thank-you gift can have a very positive impact. (In fact, I just spoke with the head of a brokerage firm last week who told me the firm has actually begun sending referral thank-you gifts (in the advisor's name) such as barbecue tools and MP3 players, and that while he initially thought the idea was "kind of cheesy," the clients are loving it and the referrals are flowing.)
We actually addressed this question on the blog a couple of months ago, during our Blog-a-thon and referral clinic, with the help of successful and very creative independent advisor Jay Eshbach. Check out his post, "How to Provide a 'WOW' Factor to Thank People for Referrals."
The one thing I would add, Linda—and this is my golden rule for all gifts all the time—is to try to take each client's tastes into account. Yes, you can offer the same cool thing to everyone, and they'll appreciate it... but they'll appreciate your gift more, and feel even more special, if it reflects an understanding of who they are and what they care about. That takes more effort, of course. But if you've received an account worth thousands or tens of thousands of dollars to your bottom line thanks to a client's generosity, isn't it worth a little extra work and thought?
If you're drawing a blank, here are a couple of articles (free registration required) full of innovative ideas for creative personalized gifts:
20+ Ways to Build Client Relationships With Gifts
Why wait for the holidays to let your best clients know you're thinking of them? Here are more than 20 ideas on how to strengthen ties through gift giving year-round.
Holiday Gifts for Clients: Where to Buy the Best
Don't get caught like a reindeer in the headlights when it comes to shopping for client gifts this holiday season. These innovative ideas will not only please your clients, they just might generate some prospects as well!