Today we're featuring another advisor question we received during our Blog-a-thon and Referral Clinic in May. This question, from Alison in Middlefield, Connecticut, is answered by Bob Cobb, the President and CEO of sales training and coaching company Ultimate Financial Advisor.
Question: "I am having trouble building my book of business and so do not have a good base of clients to ask referrals of. How can I get referrals when my book is small? I have asked my current clients but they say their friends all have sons in the financial services or they already have advisors, etc."
Bob writes: He who hires himself as an attorney has a fool for a client—and hiring your kid is even worse (that being said, I don’t think my mom would have made a good prospect for you when I was an advisor). So let’s tackle the "other advisor" problem. I would expect them to all have advisors (just as almost everyone that buys a car, house, or television already has one).
You can bypass that by saying, "You know, I can’t remember the last time that I opened an account with someone that didn’t have an advisor."
Here are some steps to start getting referrals regardless of the size of your book:
- Exceed your clients’ expectations at every turn. The happier your client, the greater the likelihood they will refer. Remember the client's Happiness Ratio:
Happiness = Reality/Expectations
- Develop a referral mindset. You and your clients should both think of referring business to you as a benefit of doing business with you, not an obligation.
- Plant the seeds early. I coach advisors to be talking about referrals in the earliest stages of their story.
- Master your Ultimate Value Proposition. Your clients will never be able to position you better than you position yourself. When I ask advisors what they do the often stumble and struggle. It needs to roll off your tongue, and it needs to be in plain English (clients don’t understand "a holistic approach to comprehensive wealth management"—if you are going to say that, you must translate it for them).
Check out these Bob Cobb articles on Horsesmouth (free registration required):
- How to Turn New Clients Into Loyal, Referring Fans in 90 Days
- Track Your Numbers Like You're Tiger Woods
- Getting More Client Assets: A 5-Step System That Works
- Case Study: Quintuple Revenue by Co-Marketing With CPAs