According to an article by Garner, 67% of new client acquisition at wealth management firms come from referrals from another line of business or existing clients[i]. This statistic means that more than two thirds of the new clients you bring as a financial advisor come from your existing clients.
Finding solid strategies to encourage client referrals could set your practice apart from the rest and may help you bring in new AUM. Create business with the business you already have. Here are seven strategies to help your practice get more client referrals.
Create Value in Every Interaction:
Your relationship with clients should be centered around providing value in every interaction. Providing value to clients means every phone call, mailing, and email you send them should add value. Value can come from information by educating and sharing expertise with your clients.
It can come from you finding personalized solutions to their specific needs. Value can also come from content like white papers, informational booklets, and articles.
No matter how small the interaction is, try to create value. Clients who value you are more likely to mention you to others and even refer you. Also, by creating value every time you talk to a client, you keep yourself and your firm at the top of their minds.
Network Wherever You Go:
Not everyone you meet at a conference will be your next client. Many of the people you meet at conferences will be professionals looking for new clients.
This doesn't mean you shouldn't go to conferences and network wherever you go. It means the opposite. While everyone you meet may not be a client, they likely have a network, and a person in their network is a potential client. Getting your practice's name out there to professionals such as lawyers and CPAs could provide you with a referral from them later.
Utilize Social Media Channels[ii]:
While social media may be an unknown frontier to your practice, it could be worth exploring. Many of your prospective clients spend countless hours on social media. Furthermore, just like not everyone you meet will be a client, not everyone who sees your posts will be a client.
Don't let this stop you from posting on social media with content approved by your compliance department. Creating a social media presence establishes a brand reputation and trust between you and your audience. This trust may translate into a referral.
Incentivize Current Clients to Make Referrals:
While this referral gaining strategy requires careful collaboration with your compliance department, it is an effective way to bring in new referrals from existing clients.
This strategy relies on the reciprocity bias. This bias occurs when someone does something for you; you want to do something for them[iii]. If you offer a client a value for a referral, they may be happy to do it for you.[iv]
Ask for a Referral After a Meeting:
After meeting with your client, especially if the meeting went very well, it may be a good time to ask that client for a referral. It can be effective to be very clear with what you would like from your client.
Once again, you can use the reciprocity bias to your advantage. If your meeting went well, your client may feel you've done something for them, and they will be more likely to want to do something for you. You can direct their reciprocating intentions by asking them for a referral.
Craft Your Website to Make a Strong First Impression:
When you ask a client or member of your professional network, they may refer you by showing a prospect your website. First impressions are always important, even digital ones. If the first thing a prospect sees of your firm is your website, don't you want to ensure that the website accurately reflects you?
Look at your website as it is now. Does it reflect your practice's branding? Is it easy for newcomers to find important information on your pages? Can your websites be viewed on a mobile phone?
All these considerations are vital to ensuring the first impressions you make online are as strong as the ones you make in person. [v]
To possibly upgrade or design a new website, see my article Falling for Fintech: Website Builder.
A Menu of Your Services
Did you ever have a client proudly tell you they just purchased a life insurance policy, and when you ask why they didn’t discuss it with you first, they say they didn’t know you sold life insurance
Many times your clients view you through the narrow lens of the service you provide for them. They consider you to be the IRA specialist if you handle their IRA. So when you ask for referrals, and they say yes, they’re likely thinking of a referral for an IRA, and perhaps not for all of the other services you provide because they are unaware of what you provide.
A strategy to consider is creating a menu of services, and we can help you with this. Once you have the menu, after every meeting, have your clients review the menu to see if there is anything you missed. The service menu means that now they have the full scope of what you do. It makes you more referable.
If they speak with their parents that night and mom says dad is going nuts trying to figure out when to take social security and social security planning was one of the menu items, you likely exponentially increased your chance of a referral! Call our Business Development Team at 858.964.0500 to get set up with a Custom Service Menu.
Remember that at the end of the day, by asking for a referral, you are helping your client out. If your services are adding value, your clients know that you will take good care of their referral. Someone your client cares about gets good service and you get new clients. It is a win-win situation.
As a financial advisor, getting referrals is vital to growing your practice. Use these seven strategies as you do business to gain more referrals and potentially get in front of new AUM.
This communication is general in nature and provided for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be considered or relied upon as legal, tax, or investment advice or an investment recommendation, or as a substitute for legal counsel. Any investment products or services named herein are for illustrative purposes only and should not be considered an offer to buy or sell, or an investment recommendation for, any specific security, strategy, or investment product or service. Always consult a qualified professional or your own independent financial professional for personalized advice or investment recommendations tailored to your specific goals, individual situation, and risk tolerance.
Dunham & Associates Investment Counsel, Inc. is a Registered Investment Adviser and Broker/Dealer. Member FINRA/SIPC.
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