People are talking about money. It's certainly not happy talk, but their finances are on their minds, and this is something you can use to your advantage. Your clients have had their ears talked off, no doubt, by friends and associates who are dissatisfied with their current advisor and who are hungry for quality advice. Consequently, many of your clients' radars are chock full of referral possibilities right now. Now is the time to bring up the subject of referrals.
Matt Anderson of the Referral Authority has just the script for such conversations. As he points out, the key is to ask open ended questions and to get your clients to be specific:
You: You know, it's been real interesting. We're finding that most folks don't talk about their money with their friends and family when the market is good. However, when the market goes down as we've experienced lately and investors are fearful, everybody seems to be talking about their money. (Now be genuinely curious.) Are you finding the same thing? (An alternative question that also works is, "Who have you heard talking about it?")
(Pause to allow your client to elaborate.)
You: What are you hearing?
(Let your clients talk and hopefully mention specific people they have talked to recently. If they don't mention names, be genuinely curious and say: Was this a client of yours? Someone in your family?)
You: It's interesting: We have been adding new clients lately as a result of some of these conversations. I attribute it to the fact that a lot of financial advisors are not returning client phone calls or simply going out of business.
(Follow up the last comment with a small anecdote, such as: "I got a new client a couple of weeks ago whose financial advisor happened to be his own uncle-but after three unreturned calls, he got fed up and contacted me.")
You: "You mentioned David, your client who owns the IT company. Do you think he might appreciate having a conversation with us? We'd be happy to share with him our views about the market or even possibly provide a second opinion to make sure his assets are properly positioned."
(Provided your client says anything other than no, continue on.)
You: What would be the best way to find out if he might be interested? Would you mind asking him or shooting him an e-mail to see if he'd be interested in a quick conversation?
If you've been good about showing your value and addressing client concerns during the down market, this script can be very effective. Be sure to read Matt's entire Horsesmouth article (free registration required) to learn more ways you can enrich the conversation.