Before asking clients for referrals, ask why they value your work. Some of them may think you’re too busy to add more clients to your business. So if you haven’t paid someone enough attention, change that. Otherwise, explain how you’ll allocate resources to take on new clients.
Once you see a client is satisfied, ask for a referral sincerely and respectfully. Do it face-to-face so you can read your client’s body language and sense of how comfortable they are with you.
Read: It doesn’t hurt to ask
What value are you getting from being my client? How can I extend this value to the rest of your family?
We’ve had good returns, so do you think the rest of your family would like to open an account?
Are any of your friends in a similar situation as you? Would you feel comfortable making a personal introduction?
Know any colleagues who would appreciate my advice?
How comfortable are you with referring your friends to me?
Do you have wealthy friends who are looking for a broker?
Read: How your assistant can bring in business
TIMING IS IMPORTANT, TOO.
If a big account just transferred out, don’t pick up the phone and start asking for referrals to make up for those assets. Your clients will sense desperation. Have the mindset of building lasting relationships, not finding a quick fix, so you don’t come across as pushy.
Don’t pressure clients to think of someone right away. And decide how to follow up with a client if they say they’ll get back to you.
Read: Speak plainly, candidly to clients
Five ways to ensure good referrals
- Thank clients for sending you business. If you make a thank-you phone call, do it right after you meet with the referred person while everything is still fresh. A thank-you lunch or gift card for supporting your business can also be a good gesture.
- Have a referral speech. If a client happens to mention she’s happy, turn that into a request for referrals. For example, “Thanks for saying you’re pleased; it’s wonderful to be appreciated. If you have someone in mind I would be a good fit for, it would be great if you could make a personal introduction.” Make it about the great level of service you’ll be providing a new client.
- Clarify what you’re looking for. Tell current clients, “I’m looking for clients just like you: a young, established entrepreneur who I can help make better financial decisions.”
- Make it easy for your client to send referrals. Say, “Tell your friend you passed her name on and that I’ll follow up in the next few days with an invitation to have coffee”—unless that friend prefers tea.
- Create a system to keep track of your referrals. Determine how often you are going to ask for referrals so you don’t pressure clients. And find that balance of reminding but not nagging a client for referrals.