Referral strategies for building your business

Use these four steps to create greater engagement among your clients and help drive your business growth.

Step 1: Brand Management

Your brand is the essence of who you are, and affects how a potential client perceives you. Everyone in your practice should have a clear understanding of your firm’s brand, and convey it clearly and consistently. If you do this well, you will find that your brand lives and breathes even when you’re not present. Your clients will find it easier to articulate praise for you because they inherently know what you stand for. Set yourself apart from your competitors by ensuring your marketing includes:

  • A unique value proposition that defines your business and your goals
  • A strong website updated with fresh content such as a blog
  • A presence on social media

Step 2: Client Experience 

Exceptional service is one of the top reasons clients refer a friend or family member to their financial advisor. Highly satisfied clients can be an excellent source of referrals. To increase your referral odds:

  • Deliver exceptional client service
  • Communicate reactively and proactively, segment clients based on preferences for frequency and kinds of information
  • Use the various methods of communication – face to face, phone, email, online – wisely based on what your clients prefer

Step 3: Relationship Management

It is important to build credibility and a deep, abiding trust, which is maximized by cultivating close client relationships. Once you achieve this, you are more likely to receive referrals. To help maximize your relationships:

  • Identify sources of new clients and your top advocates
  • Give referrals to get referrals – refer your clients to COIs in your network
  • Become known in the community – join outside networks, clubs or organization, volunteer to assume a leadership role

Step 4: Client Advocacy

You can garner referrals directly or indirectly. The direct approach is simply to ask. You can do this during a face-to-face meeting, at the end of a phone call, in an email or letter, or even as a regular tagline to your email signature. Indirect strategies such as networking, service and relationship-building efforts rely on your clients’ own self-motivation to refer you. To help your top clients become client advocates:

  • Ask the right people; target highly satisfied clients
  • Act at the right time – don’t ask until you have established trust
  • Have the right conversation – focus on problem solving

Sustainability resources to help you make every day Earth Day