2012 Referral Strategies (Over 30)!!!

At Advisors Excel, we’re building a strong community of the most dominant producers in the country by encouraging the sharing of ideas between producers—a concept that has allowed the best in the business to continually get even better. Taking that concept one step further in 2012, we launched the Quarterly Best Idea Contest!
As promised, we’ve collected entries from the first quarter on the topic of Best Referral Generation Strategy—bundled in a sweet little booklet for the benefit of those associated with AE!

Are you looking to ramp up referrals and need a great idea to get you started? Look no further. This handy resource includes over 30 powerful ideas from some of the top producers in the industry! Implement one of these ideas “as is,” or use it as inspiration to get those creative juices flowing and come up with one of your own! Either way, enjoy this valuable collection of proven ideas to help drive qualified referrals through your doors!

In the future when you have a great idea to share, simply submit it and see if your idea is the BEST OF THE BEST! Remember, there is $5,000 in cold, hard cash on the line for the winner of each Quarterly Best Idea Contest.  Comment below if you’d like to request a copy of this quarter’s report and we’ll visit soon.
Advise with passion.

The Advice (Referral) Script

How many times have you heard someone say, “Referrals are easy – you just have to ask for them?” Chances are, whoever told you that has likely never asked for, let alone received, a referral. Generating an ongoing referral stream takes far more than simply “asking for them.” If it were that simple, we’d all have hundreds of referrals lined up in our lobbies waiting to do business with us.

However, one of the most powerful ways to create a culture of referring within your book of business is to empower your clients by showing them that you respect their opinion and would like their advice.  The following simple referral generation script has been used by several of our top advisors to lower clients’ defenses and help them easily identify those who would be ideal prospects for your firm.  I’ve developed a script that can be easily be adapted for existing clients from any background, and with just a few repetitions under your belt, you’ll find that instead being a dreaded, awkward activity you avoid, asking for a referral is as actually as simple as paying your current clients a genuine compliment.

Here’s the Opening Line of the Advice Script:

  • “(Client), I’ve been thinking about something for a little while, and I could really use your advice.”
Comment below or email me & request the full script if you’d use it.
It’s simple,  effective and proven to work. Let’s visit soon.

Increase Profitability in 3 Steps

Everyone knows about the 80/20 rule, right? The Pareto Principle (also known as the Law of the Vital Few and the Principle of Factor Sparsity) states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. It is a common rule of thumb in business; e.g., “80% of your sales come from 20% of your clients”[1]. Every million-dollar (plus) earning advisor not only understands this principle, but retains it top of mind in their daily practice. I’m making an assumption that you already know this principle, practice it and believe in its’ importance. I start here as a point of reference because (although that topic alone could catapult your business) today’s thoughts will go further.

How much have you read, heard and studied about referrals? As above, many million-dollar (plus) earning advisors are consistently focused on more quality referrals and the best manner to acquire them. In another recent survey of million-dollar (plus) earning advisors, 83% indicated a majority of new clients come from client referrals[2]. Your current referral acquisition strategy has probably already considered asking directly versus indirectly, timing of the conversation, scripts to use, specific questions to ask and ultimately how to leverage your best clients. Today’s thoughts could be about that, also catapulting your business, but they aren’t.

What we’re discussing today are ideas about combining those two large picture ideas; then taking a giant leap towards maximizing the 20% of your clients that comprise 80% of your income. Duplication of those clients would mean huge successes for your practice. So step-by-step we’re going to multiply clients that make you the most money, who you enjoy working with, the ones who trust and value your guidance and those you’ve made raving fans of your business. Welcome to your 200% revenue growth plan…

How do we turn the 80/20 rule into the 20/200 rule? How do we take the top 20% of your client base and allow them to create 200% more revenue? With these 3 proven steps:

  1. Know Your 20% – Segment which clients you’re going to duplicate
  2. Know Who They Know Research top client connections and who you want introduced into
  3. Know How to Ask – Once a target list is compiled, know exactly what to say for success

Step #1: Know Your 20%
If you don’t know where your current revenue flows from, how are we going to increase future revenue? Simple first step, find out where the majority of your revenue is derived from. If this is your first time segmenting A Clients (20% in number, 80% in revenue), B Clients (30% in number, 15% in revenue) and C Clients (50% in number, 5% in revenue) you’ll be amazed! If you’ve already completed this, take a couple minutes to review it. What adjustments need to be made? Additions? Subtractions? Group shifts? Before moving on, let one more question rattle around in your head. How many additional A Clients would you need to acquire to replace all the revenue generated from all your C Clients? The number may shock you!

Step #2: Know Who They Know
Segmentation in step one is simple. The second step determines if you’re serious about “client cloning” or not. Now that you’ve compiled a list of clients to duplicate, the research begins of who they know. Chances are you’re already aware of a few connections. You already have a good idea about two or three of your clients and who they know. But what about the other 20, 30 or 40 clients you need to know more about? As you complete this part of the process, think about: workplace interactions, general profession dealings, their home and community, leisure activities, hobbies, clubs and association memberships, family ties, children, sports, music, dance, etc. for them and family members, leadership roles or board positions, charities, philanthropic passions and other professionals they consult. If you’re still searching, try two other methods. Do you currently maintain a profile on LinkedIn?[3]. If not, begin today. Via LinkedIn, search for your top clients and extend an invitation to connect. Once linked, view their other connections to identify others they stay engaged with. Lastly, if all else fails, visit with your client and ask! Spend time with one of your A Clients over a meal and tell them you feel a desire to know them better. Ask a lot of open ended questions about the aforementioned potential introduction sources and become a better advisor to them in the process.

Step #3: Know How to Ask
When I mention the word “referral”, what’s your reaction? If you’re like most people, you cringe a bit. “Who else do you know…” or “I get paid two ways…” have been around for decades and work less than ever before! Do everyone a favor and never again start a sentence with either of those phrases. In comparison, what is your reaction to the words “advice” or “introduction”? Most agree that those have a significantly more positive connotation. When employed correctly, “advice” and “introduction” are powerful; they make an impact.

The best financial advisors in the country develop scripts to ask for their client’s advice and ask for their help in introductions. I posses a number of these scripts, you probably do too. If you don’t already have an “Asking for Advice” and “Asking for Introductions” script, contact me. A report titled “The 20/200 Rule” has been produced with all scripts, plans and instructions in a reproducible format. Use mine or script your words out and use them! These words are your final key to success in this plan.

Turning the 80/20 Rule into the 20/200 Rule is proven to work. Execution is relatively simple and I’ve seen it dramatically change marketing plans and results for a number of advisors around the country. Bottom line, to turn 80/20 into 20/200 you need to average one introduction from each top client. It obviously won’t be static (one referral from each person). Some top clients will introduce you into 5, 10 or 20 like-minded people; others won’t develop for various reasons.

Wrapping up, I’m asking for one week of your dedicated time. One week to implement the segmentation, introduction connection, scripting process and getting all necessary parties in your practice involved. Will this be more profitable to you than reading the daily newspaper? Will it be more profitable than watching nightly television? Is this a better use of time than many of your other daily activities? I’d respectfully submit that yes, it is. Dedicating one week of time to this process should be the best marketing time spent all year. Clients (and their introductions) need your guidance now more than ever.

Implement and thrive.