Advisor Amy Berk from Denver, CO, was running into a wall with her referral efforts—actually, she was running into three: three objections she was getting from her clients when she asked them about referring.
- "I don't talk to people about their money."
- "I don't know anyone."
- "I already gave you referrals."
"How do you handle those nasty objections?" Amy asked.
These objections and others like them can bring a referral conversation to a screeching halt. How do you not only address these objections, but do so in a way that makes the client genuinely want to give referrals?
Bob David, Horsesmouth Director of Advisor Programs and leader of the Automatic Referrals Jumpstart Program, had this to say about overcoming the first of Amy's objections: "When someone says they don't talk to people about their money, it's most often because we haven't positioned the request in a client centered way, and it needs to be more focused on exactly what you can do to help the person you're asking to be introduced to." If a client sees that you can help a peer with a problem they've been struggling with, they won't have reservations about bringing your name up.
As far as addressing the "I don't know anyone" objection, Bob stresses the importance of specificity. "Clients need to understand who we can best help, why or what problems we can solve before they can go through their mental rolodex and get a picture of someone in their heads," he says. Your client probably knows plenty of people who would make for an ideal client, but they have no idea what criteria define one. It's your charge to make sure they know exactly what services you can provide so that they have a clearer picture of who could benefit from them.
When a client says, "I already gave you referrals," it's a definite sign, Bob points out, that the requests are coming at the wrong time. You need to make sure that you haven’t been over-zealous in your referral requests.
The one mistake you can make with these objections, or any objection for that matter, is to let them stop you. Any concern a client may have can be addressed and overcome.