Referrals will come with
Performance alone seldom gets you
the number of referrals you deserve.
The reality is that even when accounts are performing well,
clients may still not refer to you. The real key may be simply
listening just a little bit more to your clients.
In the book Blink by Malcolm Gladwell, a study is referenced that was done to find out why some medical surgeons
never get sued. When looking at surgeons and their practices,
they found that the surgeons that didn’t get sued spent on
average three minutes longer with each patient. And, during
those three minutes, the surgeon reportedly just listened.
Interestingly, if something did go wrong, the patient still
sued, but it was the internist, radiologist or someone else that
would get sued, not the surgeon. The patient actually liked
the surgeon. When the surgeon listened, he was silently yet
clearly telling the client, “I think you’re important enough for
me to take a few minutes to hear what you have to say.”
Ultimately, we don’t sue people we like. We also will do
business quicker with people we like. And, we refer others to
those we like. Can we deduct then that if we are good listeners
we will gather more referrals? When we look at top perform-
ing practices, it’s probably not a coincidence that more than
50 percent of every meeting is spent listening!
Referral acquisition is not a
real marketing strategy
Many of your best clients found their
way to your firm through referrals.
But do you have a system or process for generating the best
new clients into your firm? If you don’t, you’re not alone.
Having a plan brings focus to obtaining the best leads.
Set a goal for how many referrals you’d like to receive this
year. Determine what you will do each week to accomplish
that goal. Creating a concrete plan with solid tactics will keep
you accountable and focused on referral acquisition. Write it
down and share it with your staff!
Breaking the referral myths may change your referral
fortunes dramatically. And, the best news is that you can do it
without making huge expenditures on traditional marketing.
There’s nothing mythical about that!
Maribeth Kuzmeski is president of Red Zone Marketing.
5 tips for
By Myra Thomas
referrals are the best way to generate new business. unlike cold calls,
a referral from a current client is akin
to an automatic seal of approval.
you’ll still need a good pitch and
tailored products and services for
all your clients’ needs, but a recommendation from a current client
makes your job so much easier.
But you can’t assume your current
clients will take the initiative and
spread the word about you all on
their own. it’s smart to take a strategic and proactive approach when it
comes to obtaining referrals. you’ll
need to know how to best capitalize
on relationships, in other words, in
order to generate more leads.
Here are the top five tips for driving
your business with more referrals.
1 Use your experience you’ve developed a rapport with
your clients. you’ve probably worked
with some of them for a number of
years. always keep these lines of
communication open, and remember
to reach out to your trusted clients to
ask them how your service has been.
you should touch base throughout the
year — not just during policy review
and renewal time. take the time to lis-
ten to their concerns. When you go the
extra mile, they’ll be much more likely
to refer you to someone they know.
2 Do them a favor if you want to generate new leads,
it’s smart to learn how referrals happen.
it’s all about relationships: if you work
with business clients, send potential
clients and customers their way. these
high-influence clients are much more
likely to reciprocate than initiate. and
when it’s time to ask for the referral,
use the direct approach, especially with
people you know and respect.
3 Advice for new advisors if you’re focused on growing
your referral stream, you’ll need to do
a bit of legwork — and have a lot of
patience. new advisors should real-
ize that it can take time to generate
strong leads. Practice your pitch again
and again; you’ll need the confidence
and polish when you reach out to
your friends, family and professional
connections. and don’t forget to use
linkedin to snag new prospects.
reach out to your connections on so-
cial media, too, to generate new leads.
4 remember to network Whether you’re a new or seasoned advisor, it pays to develop community ties by attending local business
and trade events. Work with professional and charitable organizations
that you respect. once you’re involved,
don’t sit on the sidelines; take a leadership role. if you’re a recognized and
respected name, you’ll be welcome to
ask for referrals once the time is right.
5 take a proactive approach Boost your referral stream by
reaching out to the businesses you
use — your bank, your lawyer, your
accounting firm. they’re the ones
who know your agency inside and
out, so don’t be afraid to ask for
their business — and a referral to
their clients, family and friends, too.
Myra Thomas is an award-winning
tech, business and finance writer
based in New York.