All the training and research tells us our clients are more than willing to give referrals, but they don’t. Okay, some do, but it is usually just a handful in your book of business that voluntarily provides you with referrals.
So what is it? What prevents your clients from recommending you to their friends, colleagues, and associates? They know hundreds of people, many of whom could benefit from your help, yet they send no one.
All the training tells you, “ Just ask!” so you ask, and where does it get you? You are taught all the different ways and ideal times to ask. Yet few advisors ever receive the number of referrals they deserve and want.
The thing is, generating referrals is not just about asking. Developing a solid flow of referrals starts with a solid marketing plan and a clear message. I cannot stress this enough. Very few financial advisors can describe themselves in a way that defines what they do and who they do it for!
If you have trouble describing what you do, how can a client tell others what you do? This is the real problem; lack of referrals is just the symptom.
To generate referrals, you must have a compelling message that is repeatable and easy to remember. To create your compelling message, you must start by uncovering who you are as an advisor, what’s important to you, what you believe, and most importantly, who you really like to work with. This isn’t something you will find out of a book because it must come from you.
Being able to articulate who you are, what you do, and who you do it for must come from a single source, you. Every once in a while, I have a financial advisor ask me to give them samples of compelling messages creating a multiple-choice selection process as a template for their compelling message. I won’t do it, even at the risk of losing a client.
Selecting a compelling message from external sources is a waste of time and energy. Clearly defining your target market, clarifying your message, and solidifying your value are critical components necessary to increase referrals. Consider the following questions:
- Do your friends, clients, and associates know precisely the type of client you are looking for?
- When describing what you do, does it clearly define your target market and the value you provide?
- Do all of your centers of influence know your area of specialty and expertise?
If you answered no to any of the above questions, you’re going to struggle receiving referrals. Stop trying to treat the symptoms, and start to focus on the root of the problem. It’s time to develop your compelling message.
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