The Client-centred Blog

Want more financial planning referrals? This MUST happen first

The referrals experience is everything

Good financial planning referrals from happy existing clients are one of the best ways to grow your practice.

Yet to create a regular and increasing flow of quality referrals there is something that MUST happen first.

Let me share a story.

I was recently speaking with a successful coach I know about referrals, and he told me about his own previous financial adviser.

He had been entirely happy with the work they were doing together. So, he passed him several referrals. 

However, soon after he began to get feedback from some of his referrals that they had not had a good experience with him. He relayed this back to the adviser, and the adviser got very defensive and, unfortunately, that was the end of their relationship.

What kind of business is financial planning? 

Financial Planning, just like coaching, is not a sales and marketing business. It is a relationship business.

When we meet with potential client it is a HUGE mistake to think about ourselves in any way. For instance, putting any kind of pressure upon yourself to make a favourable impression, prove your expertise, or win the client is a sure way to compromise and even ruin the opportunity. 

The experience that the referral has is EVERYTHING

If they have a great experience of you, regardless of whether they become a client or not, then they will report this back to the referrer. This creates positive reinforcement. The referrer will be happy to have been of help, so they are more likely to continue to refer you. 

Anything less than this and future referrals will probably not be forthcoming. 

Serve people right from the get-go

Michael Neill, author of ‘The inside out revolution’ once said something that has been extremely helpful for me when it comes to growing my practice. He said:

“Go and have conversations with people and make those conversations so valuable to them that some of those people will pay you not to stop!”

What is it that makes a conversation valuable to someone?

It causes them to pause, think, and reflect. They may see something in a new and different way. Or have a light-bulb moment, epiphany, or realisation. They might get more clarity about an important goal or stop worrying about something that has bugged them for years.

The possibilities are endless.

The only way that conversations like this can happen is that we take ourselves and our imaginary needs out of the picture. When we do this, we can put our full and undivided attention upon serving the person in front of us.   

Want more financial planning referrals? This MUST happen first

I used to mistakenly think there must be some secret to getting more referrals. Yet through working with my own coach, I learned that there are no magic phrases, tricks, or incentives needed to encourage people to refer me.

Explore these if you want to but there is one leverage point that is far greater than all of those. 

In ‘Clients forever’, Doug Carter wisely points out:

“Your business and results change when you stop worrying about what you’re doing in the sales process and start working on who you’re being.”

P.S. The way we listen can have a massive impact upon the quality of our client conversations. Click here to read ‘5 Steps financial planners can take to becoming a better listener’.


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