Are you ready for the secret? There are two parts to it. First you have to
ask. Second you have to ask often.
Here is a list of great referral marketing ideas:
Referral research method
Getting Married philosophy
Non- verbal referral communication
Up front referral business
Competition target method
Clone your best clients method
Centers of influence referrals
The first idea is to do research on selected referral targets. Show
your client or center of influence the ideal client profile that you
are looking for or targeting. Let them know that you are
constantly trying to improve your business to help people
achieve their financial goals.
While clients are happy with the
services they receive, you would like to interview potential
prospects to conduct research on what our marketing,
communication and advice that you help people with and the
perceived value. Ask them for names of people in your unique
profile purely to do market research.
You want to let them know
that it will greatly help identify and target your ideal prospect.
Then call these referrals and you will be amazed at the amount of
information you can gather about your target market.
network, the clubs or associations they belong to the type of
advisors they work with and how they network. Along the way
the people who you conduct research on may provide referrals to
The next referral strategy is the getting married philosophy. Think for a moment if you were to marry someone new, who
would you want to meet that is associated with that person to
find out more about them. First you may meet their parents ( a
movie was made about this ), you might want to meet their
friends, colleagues at work and possibly their neighbors.
ask your client, ' Now that you have become a client of ours,
have you talked with anyone in your family, at work or your
friends about us'. Chances are if they just moved a large
investment account to you, they at least tell their best friends.
In their center of people close to them they have the ability to
send friends and family your way as referrals. Talking about it up
front may make it easier to refer these people to you. You can
ask if any of these people, family, friends, colleagues at work
should need your help that you are more than happy to
accommodate their needs. While they might not fit your ideal
profile, usually birds of a feather flock together and their friends
will be similar to their profile. Get married to your clients. At
least help the people around them.
Non verbal messages such as:
Newsletters: At the bottom of my newsletters ,I write, 'I would like to
thank my clients for thinking of me to help family and friends by
referring their name to me. Referrals are always welcome and greatly
appreciated'. Another idea on your newsletter is have a draw for a dinner
gift certificate for clients that referred you business and announce the
winners in your newsletter.
Message on your desk or business card - On my desk, my business card
holder reads, 'The best compliment you can give is a referral'.
Letters to clients: Why not select a few clients to start with and send
them a letter asking for referrals. Then follow up with a phone call, not
to ask for referrals directly, but indirectly to see if they received the
letter and possibly to have a coffee and share an investment idea with
them. Then you can ask for referrals once you see how they feel about
referrals. See a sample letter in my book at
Surveys to clients: Positive or negative, everyone needs feedback.
Surveys are a great way to ask for referrals if they are happy with you. I
would only survey clients you are comfortable
asking referrals from.
Seminars and seminar invitations:- You can see the strategy on seminars,
but you don’t want to miss these ideas. First, in your invitations, always
state that your clients are free to bring a friend or family member to
your seminar. Second, on the bottom of all seminar feedback forms, I
always put, please add these people to your next seminar invitation. I
valuable referrals from this form information.
Up front business referral: When I first heard this ideal being presented
by a top performing financial advisor from Vancouver, I loved the idea. It
is something that you cannot decide to do when it seems right, but in
every new client interview it should become part of your initial interview
or talk. What I am referring to is establishing the terms of how you do
You would state to a new client that part of doing business with you is to
generate referrals for you so you can spend more time on managing clients
goals and less time marketing to new
people. Up front you tell them the profile of people you work with and
that they help you identify prospects for you and let you know of these
If they agree, then you have a solid basis to ask for referrals on
a regular basis and both of you are comfortable with this type of business
practice. Remember it must be done up front each time a new client decides
to do business with you.
Competition target method:- This method of referrals can be fun,
especially if your target market is a certain segment of business owners.
For example, lets say you do group benefits for
engineering firms. After you deal with one firm, ask them about their
competition. They will usually know their good competitors in town and may
even know them well through trade associations.
Once you start asking
about them, ask if you can contact them using their name for their
business. If they don’t like their competitor, sometimes they will be
use their name as a referral source, but the respect of competition
usually makes it an interesting conversation. You can usually find a lot
of information about a target group by
asking for referrals to that group. The clients are usually more than
willing to talk about their competition, positive or even sometimes
Verbal ways: Clone your best clients. One of my best clients came as a result of asking
a client to invite a friend to one of my meetings. As a result I asked my
client about the referral and they tried to get their friends to come and
see me for quite some time, although I didn’t know that. When I asked for
a referral, they mentioned this persons name and that they tried to get
them to come and
talk to me. It was only when I asked for referrals that I found out that
the client was trying to help me, but it wasn’t working.
Have a referral talk as part of your vocabulary. This is the most
uncomfortable talk advisors have is asking for more business after the
client gives you business already. However, once you
do it 30 times for 30 days, it becomes a habit. It will be the best habit
you pick up and you will go farther and faster than you ever
thought possible by using that talk every day, over and over.
worksheet or handout for clients. To remind you of the referral talk use a
cheat sheet to help you make it a habit. You will need paper anyways
writing down names , so you might as well make a sheet out of it -
See a sample letter in my book.
Centers of influence referrals: As discussed in strategy # 13 in my book,
Build a dynamic referral team.
Grant's Tip: Create a point system and make it a game. If you need 8
referrals per month, think of the sources that you will generate them and
how. When you know that you will generate one or two referrals a day to
add to your database, it’s exciting to know that you sometimes don’t have
enough time to keep up with the referrals you generate by habit on a daily
One center of influence I have worked with knows that during the
course of the year he knows how many referrals are usually generated and
from who he works with so at the start of each year, he has an estimate of
the amount of business he will
automatically generate through his referral networks. See strategy # 24 in
my book, Guerrilla marketing For Financial Advisors', Creating a referral
Copyright 2003 By: Jay Conrad Levinson and Grant W. Hicks, C.I.M - Co-author of "Guerrilla
Marketing For Financial Advisors
", Trafford Publishing 2003.
You may use these articles in your
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information at the bottom, including the link to our web
site and inform us where it is being used as well as sending us a copy of
Always check with
your compliance office and or branch manager before implementing any
marketing idea. The information does not constitute a recommendation for
the sale or purchase of any securities or insurance.