Everyone is talking about re-energizing their referrals. Artfully worded requests for referrals are only part of what’s needed to attract investor referrals. Some firms helpfully remind clients in a variety of ways that they grow their practice through referrals and they are now accepting them. More than a few other firms, just as worthy, are comfortable with more passive referral tactics. Whether you fit more with the former or the latter, have you assessed whether you are “ready” for referrals:
1. Can your venerable clients recite your elevator speech? Prospective clients should hear your best capability pitch. How would a 10-year client summarize your practice? When you wrap up a client meeting, remind the client how your practice has evolved and what type of clients you want to do business with…clients similar to them.
2. Centers of influence need written support. By the time the attorney you visited has the opportunity to refer, she needs to pull out your written description. Better yet, why not provide panel cards she can pass along to her clients that describe you better than she could script on her own?
3. Google-ready? Investment Advisors found through common search terms are winning leads and clients. There are a variety of ways to achieve this. They have a strategy to stay visible and are tracking their visibility.
4. Does your Web site crisply explain how your firm or practice is distinguished from others? Mary shares with Ellen that her divorce settlement is a lump sum and she is anxious about acquiring a comprehensive financial plan. When she refers you to Mary, will your Web site back her up? In this case, Mary will surely visit your Web site to determine the type of advisor you are and whether to follow up.
5. Have you provided a reason to be contacted? What is the next step or call to action? Do you have an “offer” that will trigger a call?
Referrals are the lifeblood of a growing practice. The culture of your practice may call for either a proactive approach of requesting referrals or a more passive approach. In either case, consider what tools you can provide to assist referring parties, in print and online, to ensure their good intentions reach fruition in your practice. Good luck.