We all understand the power of referral marketing. Instead of shouting our own sales pitch from the rooftops hoping a few are listening, our happy clients venture out into the world to advocate on our behalf. I don’t think anyone would argue against this model as the best way to garner new clients. In fact, the importance of getting referrals will only grow as our industry further embraces social media.
To increase the number of referrals you are receiving, you first must understand what motivates clients to provide referrals or introductions.
- To help themselves. Clients first make referrals for their own benefit. That might sound strange, but it’s true. Think of the referral as a sign of social status. People like to feel they have influence and power with others, and by being able to introduce a friend, neighbor, family member, or business partner to your valuable services, they are improving their own image.
- To help others. The ability to help a friend is a powerful motivator as well. Think about those clients you have who are always doing nice things for other people. These people take great personal satisfaction in providing solutions that will better the lives of those around them. These clients often become true apostles.
- To help you. The last and least common reason people refer is for the benefit of their advisor. There may be the occasional client who “throws you a bone” because they feel you have earned it or they owe you. But the majority of your clients are not concerned with helping you grow your business. This does not mean they won’t refer you; it just means they will most likely do it for one of the first two reasons.
Now that you know what makes your clients tick when it comes to dropping your name, what can you do? Stop asking for referrals, and start offering to accept them! Gently remind your clients that you don’t work with everyone, but if they know of others who could benefit from your services, you would be happy to help. “Each week I leave a few appointments open in my calendar for people referred by my top clients. So if you feel there is a friend or family member I can help, please alert me. Remember I’m not a miracle worker, but I will certainly do my best.”
Also, by encouraging guest attendance at your client events, you can provide a non-threatening opportunity for introductions to be made. “I understand most people don’t feel comfortable scheduling an appointment with an advisor they have never met, so may I suggest bringing them to one of our events.”
As you begin supporting your clients’ needs to help themselves and others, you will see their support as they provide you with referrals.